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Rausu-dake (Mt. Rausu)

Rausu-dake (Mt. Rausu) Review

Towering 5,448 feet along the spine of the peninsula, Mt. Rausu is snow-covered from October to June. The most accessible trailhead is 5 km (3 miles) east of Utoro behind the Hotel Chi-no-hate; if you are a fast hiker, you can walk for one hour, 20 minutes to a 1,920-foot rocky outcrop, then another two hours to the top. From there trails head west (two hours) to meet the Utoro-Rausu highway at Shiretoko Pass, or go over the ridge and down to Rausu (three hours). Check weather conditions before hiking, sign the trailhead books, and fix a bear bell to your backpack.

Aching muscles can be soaked in open-air hot springs waiting at the end of the hike: Iwaobetsu Onsen, just below the Hotel Chi-no-hate parking lot, has four steaming rocky pools where there's a strong likelihood of sitting naked with strangers. Near the trailhead and campsite on the Rausu side, look for Kuma-no-yu, two boiling pools areas for men and women separated by some unfortunate concrete and rusty pipes, but fenced in for privacy.

Updated: 09-20-2013

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