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Meet wild orcas and other magnificent sea creatures off the coast of Rausu!

Meet wild orcas and other magnificent sea creatures off the coast of Rausu!

Rausu (羅臼)’s harbour lies on the eastern coast of the Shiretoko Peninsula (知床半島 Shiretoko-hantō), a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site which is home to a stunning array of wild animals and plant-life. In the winter, drift ice floats in towards the eastern coast of Hokkaido, bringing with it plankton, which draws a hoards number of fish to the area. 

(Image credit: Hokkaido Tourism Organization)


Then, in the summer months sea creatures such as orcas, minke whales, and porpoises, as well as seabirds such as Shearwater petrels flock to the coastal area to feed on the fish.


(Image credit: Hokkaido Tourism Organization)


For an up-close and personal encounter with these beautiful creatures, hop on a Shiretoko Nature Cruise, which is crewed by a group of sea-fairing professionals who lead tours whilst ensuring that the animals are safe and undisturbed in their natural habitat. The sight of a wild orca leaping out from the surface of the water is sure to be a sight which you will never forget! The best time for this experience is from April to mid-July.


Shiretoko Nature Cruise (知床ネイチャークルーズ)
Address: 27-1, Honcho, Rausu, Menashi-gun, Hokkaido 086-1833 Japan
Nearest station: Shiretokoshari Station (知床斜里駅)
Access: 1.5-hour drive from the station
Opening hours: 7am–6pm (Daily)
Admission fee (2.5-hour long cruise): ¥8,800 (Adults), ¥4,400 (Children ages 12 and below)
Tel: +81 153-87-4001

Rare migratory birds such as Steller's sea eagles which are drawn to Rausu by it's bountiful seafood become a winter spectacle (left). Drift ice floats from Siberia into the coast of Rausu in the winter, creating unique scenery which cannot be seen elsewhere in Japan (right). (Image credit: Hokkaido Tourism Organization)


Visiting Rausu in February or March instead? Apart from incredible winter scenery such as drift ice which drifts into the coast of Hokkaido from Siberia, you will also be able to see rare migratory seabirds such as Steller’s sea eagles!


So if you are a fan of nature and wildlife, be sure to visit Rausu Town in Eastern Hokkaido in your next trip!


This article is written in collaboration with Hokkaido Tourism Organization.
Header image credit: Hokkaido Tourism Organization.


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