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  • Campsite of Poroto Recreation Forest
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  • Wakasagi smelt fishing
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  • Fall colors of Lake Poroto
    Fall colors of Lake Poroto Fall colors of Lake Poroto
  • Fresh green of Poroto
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  • Canoe on Lake Poroto
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Poroto Recreation Forest

395.65ha

Elevation Mainly : 10―130m

Encounter Ainu culture* in a tranquil forest
(A healing forest offering stunning seasonal landscapes whenever you visit)

The Ainu people are indigenous people who have lived in the northern region of the Japanese Archipelago, particularly in Hokkaido,
with their own language and distinctive religion and culture.

Encounter Ainu culture* in a tranquil forest
(A healing forest offering stunning seasonal landscapes whenever you visit)

The Ainu people are indigenous people who have lived in the northern region of the Japanese Archipelago, particularly in Hokkaido, with their own language and distinctive religion and culture.

Newest information
CHECK
Please visit official tourism websites for the latest updates and information.
Area
Hokkaido
Activities
Flower-viewing Autumn leaf viewing Birdwatching Picnics (lawn area / park) Areas for paddling/fishing (pond/lake/river) Cycling (cycle path) Bicycle rental(charge applies) Canoe rental(charge applies)
Overview
Geographical/topographical features
Poroto Recreation Forest encircles Lake Poroto (Poroto means “big lake” in the Ainu language) with a circumference of about 4 km and an area of around 33 ha. This hilly forest, while located adjacent to the urban district of Shiraoi town, has a primitive and ancient air. Bougakudai Observation Platform offering panoramic views of mountains, including Mt. Tarumae, Mt. Horohoro and Mt. Shiraoi, and magnificent vistas of Pacific Ocean and its coastline
Historical/cultural features
Before its designation as a Recreation Forest in 1976, Poroto forest served as a sapling nursery, where trees were grown for planting on the mountains. Among the trees cultivated here were todomatsu, Todo fir (Abies sachalinensis). In 2020, the Symbolic Space for Ethnic Harmony (National Ainu Museum and National Park for Ethnic ) is due to open in an adjacent site, so this area is expected to become a center for disseminating Ainu history and culture.
Climate, flora and fauna
The tree species planted in the Recreation Forest include Todo fir; karamatsu, Japanese larch (Larix kaempferi); and ezomatsu, Yezo spruce (Picea jezoensis). Growing naturally among them are mizunara, Japanese oak mizu-nara (Quercus crispula Blume); harunire, Japanese elm (Ulmus davidiana var. japonica); yachidamo, Manchurian ash (Fraxinus mandshurica var. japonica); sen (harigiri) (Kalopanax pictus); and kuri, chestnut (Castanea crenata). Large trees in excess of 100 cm in diameter can be seen here and there in the forest. Poroto Recreation Forest is also home to mizubasho, Asian skunk cabbage (Lysichiton camtschatcensis), along with other herbaceous wetland plants. Among the animals living in the forest are ezoshika, Yezo sika deer (Cervus nippon yesoensis); kitakitsune, Ezo red fox (Vulpes vulpes schrencki); ezomomonga, Russian flying squirrel (Pteromys volans orii); and ezorisu, Hokkaido squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris orientis). In addition, it provides a habitat for around 80 bird species, including akagera, great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major); oruri, blue-and-white flycatcher (Cyanoptila cyanomelana); and kurotsugumi, Japanese thrush (Turdus cardis).
Attractions
Poroto Recreation Forest has a walking trail (cycle track) of 6 km long around the Lake Poroto, which enables visitors to enjoy the seasonal change of nature. Other footpaths lead to an observation tower with a view of Mount Tarumae, and to Momiji-daira, where visitors can soak up the spectacular sight of red and golden leaves in autumn.
The forest is equipped with all facilities to help visitors relax and unwind, including a campsite, cabins, a cookhouse, and toilets. In winter, Lake Poroto freezes over, offering the chance to enjoy ice skating and fishing for wakasagi, wakasagi smelt (Hypomesus nipponensis).
Latest Information
Information on temporarily unavailable facilities
The National Ainu Museum is scheduled to open on July 12, 2020 (Sunday).
Website of the National Ainu Museum [External link]
https://ainu-upopoy.jp/
Events
June: Shiraoi Beef Festival 
January or thereabouts: fishing for wakasagi smelt on Lake Poroto, Lake Poroto natural ice skating rink
February or thereabouts: BBQ on ICE
Warnings
・Campsite may be closed if bears are witnessed in the area, so please check in advance whether it will be operating on the day of your visit.
Usage Guide
Entrance fee
Free
Please note that a fee applies for use of the campsite and cabins (5 cabins).
Opening seasons and hours
Accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. However, please note that the road from the forest entrance to the Visitor Center is impassable during winter, due to snow.
The cabins cannot be used in winter.
Operation hours by staff
Visitor center/Information center
Apr.1~Nov.30 9AM to 5PM
(Jul.-Aug. 8AM to 22PM
In winter, during the ice fishing season, information center will be opened.
Accommodation options
11 accommodation facilities are available in Kojohama (about 30 minutes away by car)
Facility
Toilets and drinking fountains Walking trail Car park Observation platform Visitor center (staffed only) Vending machine Shop Restaurant(Outside the forest) Campsite and/or cabins(charge applies) Specimen forest /Botanic garden/Museum (Japanese guidance only) Accommodation facilities (Hotels / Japanese inns)(Outside the forest)
Map
pdf
Location
Shiraoi, Shiraoi-cho, Shiraoi-gun, Hokkaido
Access
(Distances and times are provided as a guide only)
By public transport
<Access from nearest railway station / bus stop>
  • ・JR Shiraoi Station → Poroto Recreation Forest entrance (15 minutes on foot)
    (10 minutes by car from the station to the forest’s Visitor Center)
<Access from major transport hubs to nearest railway station / bus stop>
  • ・Sapporo Station (JR Muroran Main Line: 60 minutes by limited express) → Shiraoi Station
  • ・New Chitose Airport (JR Chitose Line: 3 minutes) → change at Minami-Chitose Station (JR Muroran Main Line: 30 minutes by limited express) → Shiraoi Station
  • ・Noboribetsu Station (JR Muroran Main Line: 12 minutes by limited express) → Shiraoi Station
By car
<Access>
  • ・ Hokkaido Expressway Shiraoi IC → Pref. Route 86 → Koen-dori → Poroto Recreation Forest (5 km / 8 minutes)
  • ・Sapporo → Shiraoi (via the Hokkaido Expressway) (90 km / 70 minutes)
  • ・New Chitose Airport → Shiraoi (via the Hokkaido Expressway) (53 km / 40 minutes)
  • ・Tomakomai Ferry Terminal → Route 36 → Shiraoi (25 km / 30 minutes)
<Car parking capacity / parking charges>

Space for about 50 vehicles (free)

Nearby tourist facilities
  • ・Adjacent to the National Ainu Museum (Scheduled to open on May 29, 2020)
  • ・Adjacent to the National Park for Ethnic(Scheduled to open on May 29, 2020)
  • ・About 110 minutes by car from Lake Toya (via the Hokkaido Expressway)
  • ・About 40 minutes by car from Noboribetsu-onsen
Management office contact details
Iburi Tobu District Forest Office, Hokkaido Regional Forest Office, Forestry Agency
TEL:0144-82-2161
FAX:0144-82-2163
https://www.rinya.maff.go.jp/hokkaido/introduction/gaiyou_syo/iburitoubu/index.html
Official Tourist Information
Shiraoi Town Tourist Association [External link]
Poroto Forest Campsite [External link]
Recreation Forest Management Committee
Committee name and contact details: Poroto Recreation Forest Protection and Management Committee, Shiraoi Town Tourist Association
Tel:0144-82-2216
Fax:0144-82-4517
Supporters
Japan BBQ College [External link]
http://www.jbbqc.com/
Other

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