Day 7 of our summer holiday in Hokkaido: After making it across Shiretoko Pass 知床峠 and an unusual episode of car-sickness which rendered me with no appetite, I woke the following day with renewed vigour to the loud squawking of seagulls in Rausu 羅臼 fishing village.Located along the Okhotsk Sea, Rausu is on the eastern edge of Shiretoko Peninsula 知床半島, on the opposite side of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, away from the more popular and touristy Utoro town.Here’s an interesting comparison of the two towns: Utoro is California and Rausu is London; Utoro gets all the sunshine, and Rausu gets all the fog. The town is also different and lives off its fishing industry while Utoro is mostly a tourist town.
Fortunately the fog was nowhere to be seen when we were there!
That morning, we drove the car to a parking lot that was outside of the town centre – as instructed on the previous day by the guides in the Shiretoko Nature Centre 知床自然センター (map code 757 603 547; 〒099-4356北海道斜里郡斜里町大字遠音別村岩尾別531). From here, we waited, with our rented gumboots in hand, for a bus that will bring us to the entry point to Rausu Lake 羅臼湖. You see, there is no car park at the entrance to the trail, which is located by a highway. The ride was probably around 20 minutes on the highway.
Rausu Lake is the largest lake in the Shiretoko Peninsula and the only way to get there is to traverse over swamp land with a fair amount of uphill climbing over informal wooden steps + ginger steps over wobbly logs in muddy waters.How long did it take? Hard to say as our progress was rather slow at the beginning (the initial two ‘stations’) as my parents struggled with the steep climb and uneven steps. It was then that it struck me that my parents have gotten old(er) and that I shouldn’t have put them through this difficult ‘walk’.With a slightly heavy heart (me), we went our separate ways as my parents decided to turn back and wait for us at where the car was parked. My sister and I proceeded to make our way through the remaining stages to Rausu Lake.There weren’t many people out exploring the lake that morning – which was not surprising as the trail is quite challenging and not as accessible as the Shiretoko Five Lakes 知床五湖.Everyone we met here was Japanese. Every now and then, we would hear the tinkle of a ‘bear bell’ – it’s recommended to carry a bell on you to alert bears, which are often spotted around the lake – as someone approached. We didn’t have a bell, so we made do with our chatter!Once we got past the third station, the trail seemed to flatten out significantly (compared to the earlier steep climb).From here, it was quite an easy, albeit long, walk, over stretches of raised wooden planks, and we eventually arrived at our destination: Rausu Lake, with the imposing Mt. Rausu in the background and slightly shrouded in fog.
It was impressive, immense, and incredibly tranquil. Definitely worth every bit of effort that it took to get there. You’ll have to see it for yourself to experience the beauty and scale of Rausu Lake.
For more information, visit: http://rausuko.blog21.fc2.com/ or
Rausu Visitor Center 羅臼ビジターセンター
Map code 757-410-368
+81 0153 87-2828
0900-1700 May-October, closed Monday
10 replies on “Rausu Lake, Hokkaido // 羅臼湖, 北海道”
Oh how beautiful! It’s funny, I can easily see how my Glenfinnan hike reminded you of this one, because the same was true for me looking at these photos! I’m glad it was such a rewarding trek!
Hi Angelina! Lovely blog! Two friends and I are planning to visit Hokkaido in September this year from Singapore. We were wondering if you could tell us where we could rent gumboots from for the hike to Lake Rausu. I think one of my friends may have messaged you already. Any other tips would be great too!
p.s. Loved the piece about the photography workshop. Inspiring.
Hi Aarti, thanks for dropping by and glad you enjoyed some of my articles! Strangely I didn’t receive a notification about your query but happened to see your comment when I was looking back at this post to reply to someone else who’s asking about Rausu Lake (I guess Marie must be your friend).
To answer your question: we rented the boots at the Shiretoko Nature Centre (www.shiretoko.or.jp) as we had driven from Abashiri to Shiretoko, before driving across the Shiretoko Pass to get to Rausu. We dropped off the boots at the Rausu Visitor Centre (I just checked and it seems like the website for the centre is not working, but you can get more info here @ http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/spot/museum/nationalkoenrausu.html).
I highlighted some of my favourite moments from this trip in Hokkaido here: https://angelinahue.com/2013/05/17/summer-in-hokkaido/ – check out the hyperlinks and maybe these will give you and your friends more ideas for your trip. Feel free to let me know if there’s anything else I can help with.
Hi Angelina, do you still remember that we you park you car and take the bus to the entrance of the Rausu Lake? Is it near Shiretoko Pass? How the bus pick you back to the car park? Is it a public bus or you have book a local tour? How much have to pay for the bus fare?
Hi Mona, I don’t remember where we parked the car but it was next to the bus stop from which we took the bus to the entrance of Rausu Lake. The car park was somewhere in Rausu town. To get back to the car park later, we took the same bus in the opposite direction from somewhere near the start of the Rausu Lake hike. It was a public bus and the fare was inexpensive.
Sorry I’m not able to help further but you should be able to get more information from the helpful staff at the Shiretoko Nature Centre (www.shiretoko.or.jp).
Hope you’ll have fun in Shiretoko!
Thank you very much for you reply. Are you joining tour when you going to Lake Rausu? OR by you own?
Hi Mona, I was on a self-driving holiday with my family (4 adults) and we went to Rausu on our own. I had considered getting a guide for the walk to Rausu Lake but didn’t do so in the end.
By the way, I’ve finally written up all of my favourite moments and experiences from this trip – which you can read more about here if you need further information: https://angelinahue.com/2013/05/17/summer-in-hokkaido/