Pretty large hotel with wings named after wildlife (bear, deer, etc). Located at vantage point for great view of Sea of Okhotsk (probably see ice floes during winter). A little off the beaten track (cheaper than the rest) - learnt it the hard way when arrived late evening at Utoro bus terminal & thought we could walk to the hotel. Long day, heavy backpacks, uphill walk in the dark + strong winds = bad idea. An angel in the form of a Jap lady in a minivan stopped and gave us a lift to the hotel - yay!
Check-in was very smooth - Jap reception staff spoke very good English and some Malay (worked in Indonesia). Ushered us to our room (a little jaded with a 20-yr old rotary phone), explained the facilities & left us to freshen up for dinner. Even the bellboy (more of an elderly Jap man) spoke good English.
Dinner buffet well stocked eg. crab legs, butter beef steaks, scallops. Since arrived late, friendly reminder from waiter on closing time of buffet table. Following night's dinner was Jap set style - just as good. As onsen was taboo on a full stomach, tried our hand at the arcade machines - friend actually won a Stitch stuffed doll! Other guests played pingpong or surfed on hotel computers for free. Couple of souvenir shops with plenty of choices esp. the corner for handmade woodcraft eg. keychains, welcome plaques, etc. The artist was present to paint on personalised messages. Couldn't resist a little bear bell complete with wooden bear figurine - visitors to Shiretoko National Park were advised to make noise so as to ward off bears. Better safe than sorry for our trip to the park next day. When dropped by reception to ask about the park, same check-in staff advised where to go, what to eat (didn't think too highly of deer burger), etc. As we took Jap rooms, futons were laid out when we came back from dinner.
Onsen had an indoor and outdoor pool. Outdoors was an open-air rockgarden of sort - sat on rocks with heated water providing discrete cover. Enjoyed starry night sky + sea breeze. Life doesn't get much better.
Breakfast buffet could be brunch if one really tucked in. Took hotel shuttle van service (no charge) to/fro Utoro bus terminal else a leisurely walk <15mins downhill, 20mins uphill. Spent the morning at Shiretoko National Park - wild deers (friend got to within 10ft of doe & fawn, later on our bus passed a buck at side of road), Furepe waterfall & giant toadstools. Back to Utoro town for lunch, walked past Godzilla Rock (bore close resemblance to the giant lizard) to Utoro Port. Tunnel connecting to the port was a wind tunnel, so strong we had to lean forward when walking through it. Tiring climb up Oronko Rock for 360view of town. Ended the day back at hotel room with great view of sunset whilst sipping ocha.
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- Also Known As:
- Shiretoko Hotel Shari Cho
- Hotel Shiretoko Japan/Hokkaido - Shari-Gun