July 2005: Shiretoko Peninsula (natural site) added to UNESCO's World Heritage List

Shiretoko, ©Japan Photo Encylopedia 2005 Shiretoko, World Heritage List, Japan ©All rights reserved


"Shiretoko is located in the northeast of Hokkaido, protruding into the southern boundary of the Sea of Okhotsk. Although Shiretoko is geographically located in the temperate zone, it is the most southern (lowest latitude) ocean in the world as a seasonal sea ice area. As winter approaches, sea ice covers the sea surface of Shiretoko and provides abundant phytoplankton, which cradle abundant wildlife.

Sea ice, as well as pristine forests and rivers, is the origin of living organisms in Shiretoko and supports its integrated ecosystems.


Shiretoko has an outstanding natural beauty with its pristine landscape and seascape changing dramatically with the four seasons. Mt. Iou is world renowned for erupting large amounts of highly pure molten sulfur.

Integrated pristine nature ranging from the sea to the forests of Shiretoko is the shared asset of all humanity. It is our responsibility to preserve it for future generations without damaging its outstanding universal value."


(text : © Ministry of the Environment of Japan)




UNESCO Press Release


More information on Shiretoko (JNTO Website)


World Heritage List


Japan Endless Discovery (JNTO Website)

Visiting Japan Links (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan)


World Heritage in Japan


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