Lidia & Allen - Asia May-Sept 2018 travel blog

Yes this, Mt. Io, is still an active volcano

Yet no one seems at all concerned about imminent eruptions, or the...

Hurry up & take the photo, I'm holding my breath !

As if the sulphur dioxide was not enough of a issue ?!

Luckily the wind is blowing away

Translation - about $25 for one melon - it better be REAL...

Oceanside outside our Utoro hotel

Gazing towards Sakhalin Island, Russia, about 250 km away

Utoro down below

Mt. Rausu

If this contraption starts shaking we RUN that way !

The elevated boardwalk snaking through bear country

Shiretoko Mountain Range viewed from the Five Lakes Boardwalk

The Range Names

Thel & Lili with Mt. Rausu looming behind

Mountains and 'Mirror' Lake

Utoro Harbor with Mt. Io (L) & Mt. Rausu (R) from our...


Have changed the default map to that of only the island of Hokkaido; changes in location during our Hokkaido Tour are more easily viewed.

Our drive continues towards the northeast peninsula, Shiretoko. We drove out of Teshikaga and proceeded between Lakes Kussharo & Mashu (the site of the 'soggy shoes' hike). Driving along we see large plumes of smoke/steam billowing from the roadside mountainside. Driver asks fellow passengers whether a stop & visit is in order - instantaneous/unanimous/vociferous affirmation ! Tsutsujigahara here we come !

The fractured mountainside dwarfs the people milling around & snapping 'selfies'; within 10 meters of 3 meter tall yellow sulphur coated mounds. The air is redolent of eggs you don't want for breakfast; though I have smelled worse at other Mother Earth 'kitchens'.

The site elicits an apocalyptic image; the charred grey/black terrain stained yellow by the sulphur bleeding from within shrouded by the noxious vapors.

It was an unplanned, and so even more enjoyed, discovery along the road.

Utoro is about halfway up the west coast of the Shiretoko Peninsula; the usable roadway actually ends about only 10 miles further, yet the peninsula continues almost another 20 miles. The town is relatively small, about 5,000 population, though it appears there is a large scale harbor port construction underway. Maybe a future destination for cruise ships ?

Our hotel was at water's edge, and so the sound of the ocean waves breaking on the shore surely lulls one shortly into slumber at the end of the day.

The following we drove up & over the mountain pass to Rausu, a fishing town on the peninsula's east side. On our way back again saw 'smoke' wafting near the road. Naturally pulled over to investigate, and, well, that 'contraption' was yet another 'other-worldly' sight. Not really sure what its purpose in life was, but its joints were oozing, and it resembled an explosion site shortly before detonation. We did not linger long.

Back to the west side we took the remainder of the north-bound road and visited The Five Lakes Park. The elevated walkway thru the fields is about 1/2 mile long; quite an impressive construction. Purpose built to 'elevate' human visitors from the resident bears who consider the area home from May thru July; and potentially placing said humans on the menu ?! The views of the mountain range to the east were spectacular, and the warm, sunny day only enhanced the experience.

Next we proceed along the northern coast to Abashiri.

Ciao for now.

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