The Memanbetsu Airport allows access to some pristine, untouched nature, such as the Shiretoko Peninsula or Lake Akan. Naturally, the hotels in this area take advantage of this environment, providing a recluse from everyday life while offering special activities and of course great views. For instance, at the Kitakobushi Shiretoko Hotel & Resort located in the Utoro Fishing Port, you can enjoy the brisk smell of the sea while looking across the majestic Sea of Okhotsk. Furthermore, the Hotel Chi no Hate is the only hotel in Japan located within the grounds of a world natural heritage site, the Shiretoko National Park. Not only is the hotel’s location ideal to explore the Shiretoko area, it also features an open-air garden bath within a virgin forest, meaning that you can literally bask in nature. Not only that, the bath is known to change colors, ranging from turquoise to emerald green depending on the lighting to produce a somewhat mysterious atmosphere. Finally, at the Lamp no Yado Mori-Tsubetsu close to Akan-Mashu National Park, wild deer, and red foxes are known to roam around the grounds – sometimes even being observable from your room’s window. Starting with these spots, this article will showcase the best places to stay if you want a nature experience only available in Hokkaido.
Kitakobushi Shiretoko Hotel＆Resort
Located in the Utoro Fishing Port and accessible from Memanbetsu Airport via the “Shiretoko Airport Liner” express bus in about 2 hours, the Kitakobushi Shiretoko Hotel & Resort’s claim to fame is in its views of the nearby Sea of Okhotsk. These are best enjoyed either from your room or the shared bath, which features large glass windows for full immersion. While the view of this majestic ocean is punctuated by fishing and leisure boats in the warmer months, in winter the entire is coast is griped by seemingly endless drift ice for an almost overwhelming scene. As you can probably imagine, looking at this view while immersed in the large shared bath makes it basically feel like you are an extension of the ocean – an experience that is not to be missed.
172 Utoro Higashi, Shari-cho, Shari-gun, Hokkaido
Hotel Chi no Hate
Located within the Shiretoko National Park, the Hotel Chi no Hate is the only hotel in Japan located within the grounds of a world natural heritage site. It doesn’t get much closer to nature than that! One of the highlights is undoubtedly the outdoor stone bath, located in an untouched virgin forest. The bath’s water changes colors depending on the natural light that day, going through a range of blue and green tones to land somewhere between turquoise and emerald. This adds an air of mysticism to this unique hot spring. One thing to note is that this bath is gender-mixed (unlike the indoor bath), though bathing suits are provided.
Iwaobetsu, Shari-cho, Shari-gun, Hokkaido
Lamp no Yado Moritsubetsu
Close to Akan-Mashu National Park, at the Lamp no Yado Mori-Tsubetsu you will not only be engulfed in nature but also be able to enjoy a hotel with a quirky, homely atmosphere. The interior design is dominated by wood for a lodge house feel, while the large windows ensure you will always feel immersed in the nearby forest. To that point, wild deer and red foxes are known to roam around the grounds – sometimes even being observable from your room’s window. For an escape to nature that is true to the word, this hotel can’t be missed!
738 Kamisato, Tsubetsu-cho, Abashiri-gun, Hokkaido
At around a 90-minute drive from Abashiri City, the hotel Yuyado Daiichi is located within the onsen (hot spring) area that is Youroushi Onsen. As you would expect from such a facility, the various baths are this hotel’s strong suit. The indoor bath, for instance, is made entirely out of wood, using hinoki leaves to preserve the humidity. This has the added benefit of resulting in a soft wooden scent that permeates the room. On the other hand, the outdoor hot spring is nestled along the nearby Shibetsu River and built in a way that you can observe the river itself, enjoying the flow of the water interspersed by the occasional cries of local wild birds.
518 Yoroushi, Nakashibetsu-cho, Shibetsu-gun, Hokkaido
Hokuten no Oka Lake Abashiri Tsuruga resort
Unbeknownst to many, the region along the Sea of Okhotsk was once called home by the so-called Okhotsk People from the 5th to 9th century. The Hokuten no Oka Lake Abashiri Tsuruga Resort’s interior is dedicated to preserving their culture, featuring Okhotsk inspired motives throughout the facilities. For instance, the main lounge’s interior is based on the Okhotsk’s ancient dwellings, featuring a large fireplace as well as wood sculptures of eagles and whales. Overall, this unique resort’s atmosphere almost resembles a museum, dedicated to the rise and fall of peoples shrouded in mystery.
159 Yobito, Abashiri, Hokkaido
Shiretoko Daiichi Hotel
One of the things you definitely want in a positive hotel experience is, quite simply, good food. With that in mind, one of the places not to be missed at the Shiretoko Daiichi Hotel is the restaurant Marusukoi, which celebrated its re-opening in December of 2019. Here, regional staples such as fresh, local seafood are interspersed with unexpected pleasures such as Chinese dishes, pasta, or steak. All this is part of an open concept kitchen, and the 80+ dishes on the menu make up a hotel buffet that aims to end all hotel buffets. One especially popular dish is the “Shiretoko Shio Ramen”, which features seaweed-laced noodles that are flavored with salmon seasoning.
306 Utorokagawa, Shari-cho, Shari-gun, Hokkaido