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The Shiretoko Peninsula, Japan

March 19th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

The Shiretoko Peninsula, is located on the easternmost portion of the Japanese island of Hokkaidō, protruding into the Sea of Okhotsk. On July 14, 2005, in a meeting held in the Republic of South Africa, the Shiretoko Peninsula was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and on July 17 was officially registered as such.

The name Shiretoko is derived from the Ainu language word shiruitoku, meaning "the end of the earth" or "the place where the earth protrudes".

From Shiretoko Cape at the tip of the peninsula, a series of volcanoes run down the peninsula, including Shiretoko Peak, Utabetsudake, and Shiretokoiouzan. The volcano area has given rise to several famous onsen, including Seseki Onsen and Iwaobetsu Onsen. The variety of onsen in the area make the peninsula a popular tourist destination.

The Shiretoko Peninsula is home to many species of both conifers and broadleaf trees, including the acorn-bearing mizunara (Quercus mongolica). Foxes, Brown Bears, and Japanese Deer also inhabit the area. The Hokkaido Owl and Seeadler also flourish, and seals can be often seen on the coast.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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