Cape Shiretoko, facing the Sea of ​​Okhotsk at the tip of the Shiretoko Peninsula



Japanese scenery seen from the sea (Part 2)


At a cape that can only be seen from the sea, you will encounter a landscape that sparkles with life.

Cape Shiretoko is located at the tip of the Shiretoko Peninsula, facing the Sea of ​​Okhotsk. This area is a special protection area within the national park and is not accessible to the general public. In other words, Cape Shiretoko can only be seen from the sea.

The appearance of a rough cape carved by waves
I can't help but feel the mystery of nature.

For many Japanese people, ``Cape'' is a distant place. If I have never thought about the cape, I have never been there. When I think of a cape that barely reaches the destination of a trip, I think of Koibito Misaki with a bell hanging there, or a stone monument carved with the word "Japan's southernmost point", but I feel that it is far from the original image of a cape. . A cape is something more solemn and noble.


When I see the cape in front of me, I feel overwhelmed and want to worship it. It dates back to a time when there were still many blank spaces on the world map, when explorers around the world used ships to travel.

Unlike today's trips that require insurance, back then it must have been a life-or-death voyage. The presence of capes that served as major indicators in the open ocean, where there are no landmarks, is no small feat. Considering that Vasco da Gama's arrival at the Cape of Good Hope is etched in geography and world history, you can imagine how important it was.

Cape Shiretoko has many cliffs carved by rough waves Cape Shiretoko has many cliffs carved by rough waves

Cape Shiretoko has many cliffs carved by rough waves.

People from the Kanto region are familiar with places such as Inubosaki and Irozaki, which are easily accessible from land, but when traveling by boat, we often hear about geographical markers such as Cape Soya at the northern tip of Hokkaido, Cape Sata at the southern tip of Kyushu, and Cape Ashizuri at the southern tip of Shikoku. . Many capes have offshore swells and high waves, and are often said to be difficult spots for navigation. When I imagine how many sailors have been caught in the rough waves on this cape, I can't help but feel moved to be on the ocean right now.

At the foot of Mt. Rausu At the foot of Mt. Rausu

At the foot of Mt. Rausu, the land route to Cape Shiretoko ends on the back side of this mountain.

Among the many capes, Cape Shiretoko, which towers over eastern Hokkaido, struck me as the most beautiful.
This cape is completely inaccessible from land as it is blocked by Mt. Rausu, Mt. Io, and a deep forest. Therefore, the entire picture can only be seen from the sea.
Because there is no continent to the east, the wind is always strong, and when you go out on the deck of a ship, you can sometimes find yourself unable to move just by supporting yourself.


Still, if you sail around Cape Shiretoko at sunrise or sunset, you may come across a landscape that gives off a divine light, as if the peninsula itself is shining. It's stronger than a strong wind, and it shakes your heart so much that you can't move. A warm and loving light...many creatures living in the forest surrounding the cape are now bathed in the same light. Watching the sunset over the ridgeline, I felt the joy of living in the present moment.

Inubosaki in Chiba Prefecture Inubosaki in Chiba Prefecture

The eastern cape is best suited for the morning sun, and the western cape is suited for the setting sun.

On the cape illuminated by the morning and evening sun,
A divine glow dwells and is deeply engraved in your heart.

There are many capes that can be seen without going all the way to Cape Shiretoko.
For example, the aforementioned Inubosaki in Chiba Prefecture is one of them. The cape protrudes to the east, so when the morning sun shines on it, depending on the conditions, it looks like it could be compared to Hokkaido.

Shiriyazaki, Shimokita Peninsula, Aomori Prefecture Shiriyazaki, Shimokita Peninsula, Aomori Prefecture

Shiriyazaki is a cape that forms the northeastern tip of the Shimokita Peninsula in Aomori Prefecture. The north side of the cape is the Tsugaru Strait, and the east side is the Pacific Ocean, where the tides turn. The road to Shiriyazaki is closed at night and in winter.

Further north as far as Aomori, I saw a mysterious natural phenomenon in front of Shiriyazaki, located on the Shimokita Peninsula. The temperature had suddenly risen compared to the previous day, and the setting sun was setting in a retrograde direction. The entire surface of the sea began to glow, and the moment I saw a piece of a rainbow in the sky above it is still etched in my mind as an unforgettable sight.

A view of the cape illuminated by the setting sun A view of the cape illuminated by the setting sun

Seeing the cape bathed in the setting sun is an unforgettable moment that cannot be replaced by any other experience.

When I think about the charm of this cape, which is generally unknown, I realize that the sun was always there at that moment of excitement.
The cape, which has many cliffs, stands out in the harsh light when exposed to oblique light, and creates a curtain of light on its ridgeline even when the slope is in the opposite direction. When you see the last edge of land in front of you, it may be an exaggeration, but it may be the moment that makes you feel that you are one of the living animals.



Lists the places introduced in Part 1 and Part 2 of ``Japanese Landscapes Seen from the Sea.'' Lists the places introduced in Part 1 and Part 2 of ``Japanese Landscapes Seen from the Sea.''

Lists the places introduced in Part 1 and Part 2 of ``Japanese Landscapes Seen from the Sea.''

Nakamura style poet Kazashito Nakamura

travel photographer

He has traveled on cruises every month for over 10 years, reporting on board 10 domestic and overseas ships. He has traveled to as many as 80 countries on ships such as around-the-world routes. She has published a photo book ``ONE OCEAN'' which compiles the miracles of the sea three times around the world, and ``All about Ogasawara'' (published by JTB Publishing), a cruise destination. With the cooperation of Canon, the exhibition traveled nationwide to Ginza, Nagoya, Osaka Canon Gallery, Sendai Mediatheque, Takasaki Takashimaya, Tobu Utsunomiya Department Store, and Mito Keisei Department Store. He regularly holds lectures at Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi, various newspaper halls, and onboard cruise ships, and also regularly holds photo tours and judges contests across the country.



Click here for Japanese scenery seen from the sea (Part 1)

Potography & Text by Kazashito Nakamura

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