A museum that provides knowledge about the Shiretoko Peninsula, a World Heritage site
The Shiretoko Museum was established in a municipal park in 1978 to mark the centennial anniversary of Shari Town’s foundation. Shiretoko is a famous national park situated in one of Japan’s richest natural settings. In 2003, an area of approximately 56,000 hectares of land covering the Shiretoko National Park and adjacent areas was designated as a World Natural Heritage site.
This municipal museum highlights a wide range of themes, including the precious natural surroundings of the Shiretoko Peninsula, the history of local industries, and the area’s cultural evolution involving Jomon, Epi-Jomon (unique to Hokkaido), Okhotsk, Ainu and other cultures. The facility also houses fascinating special exhibitions featuring local themes. Since its foundation, the museum has published a number of publications, which are sold both at the museum shop and online through the Shiretoko Museum Cooperation Association website (in Japanese).
Exhibits covering the nature, history and culture of Shiretoko
The first floor of the museum showcases the development of the Shiretoko Peninsula and the Shari Plain as well as the cultures that thrived in this region (i.e., Jomon, Epi-Jomon, Okhotsk, Tobinitai, Satsumon and Ainu cultures), based on the theme of history and folk customs. Detailed information on the history of the fishery, railway and other industries is also provided through tools and other artifacts that were used in those days.
The second floor highlights local marine and terrestrial animals, birds, insects and plants based on the theme of the nature and animals in Shiretoko. The museum also has outdoor field
observation facilities, including a rescue facility for injured birds, and an alpine plant garden.
A chance to see a number of animals inhabiting Shiretoko’s rich natural environment
Shiretoko is home to a pristine natural environment that was designated as a World Heritage site, and is the natural habitat of a number of species. The Shiretoko Museum showcases many animal specimens, including skeletal specimens and a stuffed Blakiston’s fish owl (an endangered bird found on the Shiretoko Peninsula). The Shiretoko Peninsula is a fascinating place, both in terms of nature and history. In particular, miniature bear and seal artifacts produced by Okhotsk people who came from the north approximately 1,200 years ago to live in this region demonstrate their sense of awe toward the animals.