The whole northern tip of the Shiretoko peninsula, is now a world heritage national park.
It has the healthiest population of brown bears in all of Japan.
It is hard to spot those large brown bears in this area.
They do not come often to the parts of the park where visitors are allowed to enter.
It is a highly regulated park, and not much independent hiking is allowed inside of it.
We felt a little disappointed by the fact that hiking was not really permitted inside the park.
We took a long stroll along an elevated wooden path, that had many wildlife viewing decks, and vast views of the lakes and the sea beyond.
It was a short walk, but a most enjoyable way to get a feeling to that plateau marshland.
We drove to the end of the road to see some hot spring waterfalls.
It was a long dirt road which meandered along the cliffs overlooking the sea, and dove deep into the forest.
The Shiretoko peninsula has a unique vegetation, and this forest has midget fir trees that grow right under large golden birch trees.
The midget firs look almost like ferns, growing in abundance on the forest floor.
This forest also has a large population of small furry foxes, and unlike the brown bears, those foxes were NOT hard to spot…. In fact, they came right to us, hoping that we would feed them.
They stood on the side of the dirt road, and run over to the car, the minute we stopped to photograph them.
They obviously were fed by the many previous visitors and lost all fear of people.
The road through the forest with the occasional vast views of the sea, and the many foxes and deer on the road, made this journey most enjoyable.
The hot water waterfalls themselves, were mostly blocked off to visitors in this season, and we were only able to enjoy a small portion of it.
It was a great lesson in the fact that it is the JOURNEY that counts, and not necessarily the destination….
Luckily, we have enjoyed the journey there, stopping to appreciate all the wildflowers, the scent of the forest and plants, and all the small foxes we’ve encountered along the way.
The Shiretoko mountain pass, offer beautiful views of Mount Rausu.
At the end of this windy road, we entered the small town of Rausu.
We stopped by the visitor center, which is the only place where you can get an English map of the area.
We also got some helpful recommendations what to see and do, in this rural part of Hokkaido.
The stuff spoke good English, and suggested that we walk to see a Geyser that is spewing every forty minutes.
When we arrived, all we could see by the river was a small section of stones, no larger than a camping fire ring, that was bubbling gently with boiling water and a narrow cloud of steam, coming off it.
We did not think that it was worth staying to see how high it will spew…
Maybe the Geyser felt our impatient, because it started to boil harder and faster, and eventually exploded to about thirty feet high.
It was a most exciting display to be alone in nature, and to see this unique spewing of the geyser.
It was getting late in the day, and we decided to drive down the Número Straits and to take a circular road back to the town of Shari, where our hotel is.
The few small towns that lined this coast were mostly fishing villages with a thriving and seemingly abundant community.
We saw no display of lack or poverty, and most houses, no matter how humble they were, had a lovely Japanese garden with manicured garden flowerbeds, nicely shaped and trimmed trees, and some had charming garden decorations, made from painted old buoys.
Those old ball shaped buoys, that once were attached to fishing nets, had gotten too old to do their job as buoys…. Now they decorate beautiful gardens in fishing villages along this cold and rugged coast.
I reminded myself of this:
Looking at the vast sea,
I can see how simple life is…
In the morning, you vow to respect all…
In the evening, you vow to respect all.
Heaven and earth can roar around you,
Yet you stand firm in the eternal Truth
Inside your own being…
Bodies and forms, are all part of a dream…
A big illusion,
Born of a misperception of the real world..,
And a wrong belief in separation…
A forgetfulness of your own Divine Nature….
Let go of your desire to “fix” the world…
A devoted student of the Truth,
Realizes that all things,
Are just as they are suppose to be…
Each soul, each appearances,
Are exactly where they are meant to be…
She reminds herself inwardly
Of One single thing:
“I need DO nothing…
All I need to do is to let go of the ego mind….
And to ask the God within me,
To show me the way….
To help me realize Eternal Truth… “