Shiretoko World Heritage Site
MARINE PROTECTED AREA
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Shiretoko National Park (知床国立公園, Shiretoko Kokuritsu Kōen?) covers most of the Shiretoko Peninsula at the northeastern tip of the island of Hokkaidō, Japan. The word "Shiretoko" is derived form an Ainu word "sir etok", meaning "end of the Earth".
One of the most remote regions in all of Japan, much of the peninsula is only accessible on foot or by boat. The park is best known as the home of Japan's largest brown bear population and for offering views of the disputed Kunashiri Island, claimed by Japan. The park has a hot springs waterfall called Kamuiwakka Falls (カムイワッカの滝, Kamuiwakka-no-taki?). Kamui wakka means "water of the gods" in Ainu.
The forests of the park are temperate and subalpine mixed forests; the main tree species include Sakhalin fir (Abies sachalinensis), Erman's birch (Betula ermanii) and Mongolian oak (Quercus mongolica). Beyond the forest limit there are impenetrable Siberian Dwarf Pine (Pinus pumila) thickets.
In 2005, UNESCO designated the area a World Heritage Site, advising to develop the property jointly with Kuril Islands of Russia as a transboundary "World Heritage Peace Park".
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