Shiretoko National Park

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Shiretoko National Park
知床国立公園
IUCN category II (national park)
Shiretoko National Park.jpg
View from the sea
Map showing the location of Shiretoko National Park
Map showing the location of Shiretoko National Park
Shiretoko National Park in Japan
Location Hokkaidō, Japan
Coordinates 44°06′00″N 145°11′00″E / 44.10000°N 145.18333°E / 44.10000; 145.18333Coordinates: 44°06′00″N 145°11′00″E / 44.10000°N 145.18333°E / 44.10000; 145.18333
Area 386.33 km²
Established June 1, 1964
Official name: Shiretoko
Type: Natural
Criteria: ix, x
Designated: 2005 (29th session)
Reference No. 1193
State Party: Japan
Region: Asia-Pacific

Shiretoko National Park (知床国立公園 Shiretoko Kokuritsu Kōen?) covers most of the Shiretoko Peninsula at the northeastern tip of the island of Hokkaidō, Japan. The word "Shiretoko" is derived form an Ainu word "sir etok", meaning "end of the Earth".

One of the most remote regions in all of Japan, much of the peninsula is only accessible on foot or by boat. The park is best known as the home of Japan's largest brown bear population and for offering views of the disputed Kunashiri Island, claimed by Japan. The park has a hot springs waterfall called Kamuiwakka Falls (カムイワッカの滝 Kamuiwakka-no-taki?). Kamui wakka means "water of the gods" in Ainu.

The forests of the park are temperate and subalpine mixed forests; the main tree species include Sakhalin fir (Abies sachalinensis), Erman's birch (Betula ermanii) and Mongolian oak (Quercus mongolica). Beyond the forest limit there are impenetrable Siberian Dwarf Pine (Pinus pumila) thickets.

In 2005, UNESCO designated the area a World Heritage Site, advising to develop the property jointly with Kuril Islands of Russia as a transboundary "World Heritage Peace Park".

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