October 2, 2018
Climbing the Mount Shari (1547 m) on the Shiretoko peninsula was not challenging only for the hike itself, but also for the way to get to the trailhead. We went three stops by train from Shari to Kiyosato (260 JPY). It is the closest village from the peak, but still 14 km far. However, there is no public transport, and the last 7 km is a dead end road, which leads only to the parking lot and is used probably only by hikers. We began to hitchhike with hope, that maybe some other hiker would take us there. After around one hour our enthusiasm dropped close to zero. This time was our saviour a retired gentleman who pass by to his cottage. He took us to the parking lot, where is a small hut, but it operates probably only in the summer season. Next to the structure is a little box with a visitors book. And there also begins a trail.
We followed a forest path for about 500 meters until we reached a stream. The pathway leads along, but after a while, we had to cross the stream. There are actually 12 leaps. Some are easy since you can step on lots of rocks or hold on branches, some are a bit tricky and needs a balance and visually plan for a jump. No need to worry, but if the stream is swollen, you can get wet. After ticking off the last crossing, we encountered a junction. We continued to the left, which is an old path (Kyuudou – 旧道) and leads along the stream with lots of waterfalls, some crossings, and rope climbings. We carried on for about one hour to the next junction, where our path met the new one (Shindou – 新道).
Then the road goes on steeply up to the small flat spot, where we stayed for a while with a snack and a great view. After short rest, we carried on to the left for a few minutes, where the path goes on the ridge until we spotted a small shrine. The last part is 15 minutes climb, and then you can finally enjoy amazing views on the mountain range, Okhotsk sea, and Shari town.
After taking hundreds of photos, we went downhill. This time we took the new path (left on the junction). There are also two options, the right one leads along small crystal clear pond, but they meet shortly. Then we followed the path with some up and downs through the pine forest with a view of the summit. After stepping down lots of stairs to the stream, we went back along. The trail loop is around 9 km, and we did it in about 5 hours.
Since we were there out of season and the parking lot was empty, we had to return to the village by foot. Luckily after 8 kilometres close to the turning to Mount Shari, we caught a car, which took us to the train station.