The Shiretoko Grand Hotel Kitakobushi is a beautiful onsen (hot spring) hotel to stay at while enjoying the incredible scenery of the Shiretoko National Park in every season. Located in the town of Utoro, it is 50 minutes by bus from JR Shiretoko Shari station. The Utoro bus terminal is also within walking distance of the hotel. The hotel rooms are spacious and have excellent views of the harbor. Western, Japanese or combination rooms are available. Also within walking distance are local seafood restaurants, cafes, and tourist attractions, including Triangle and Oronkoiwa Rock.
The on-site restaurants include a buffet style breakfast and dinner restaurant with an incredible variety of cooked and raw seafood, Japanese and Western dishes, and desserts including a chocolate fondue fountain. There is a bar/lounge with views of the harbor, as well as a cigar lounge and an outdoor foot bath for viewing sunsets. Other facilities include a playroom for kids, coin laundry, a pet lounge, and souvenir shops. The onsen facilities are extensive and include baths of different temperatures, an open-air bath on the top floor with scenic views of the harbor, and a sauna. All baths have a view of the Okhotsk Sea. Room amenities include yukata robes, slippers and a haori coat to wear around the grounds of the hotel and for the onsen. A flat screen television and refrigerator are also in each room.
The hotel service is impeccable. Due to a train delay, our arrival to the hotel was much later than expected. The front desk arranged for us to have a late dinner which consisted of a variety of seafood dishes and a chirashi rice bowl. This traditional and personal seafood meal arranged for us after traditional dining hours showcased the incredible hospitality of the staff and their dedication to quality and the comfort of their guests.
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I first visited Japan in 2001 and since then have returned many times. With the efficiency and reliability of its transportation, the graciousness of the people, and the dedication to quality in food and service, Japan has been my standard for modern travel convenience. Every return has reminded me of the remarkable depth and diversity of the country with no two trips being alike, despite retracing steps through familiar neighborhoods. The constant dynamism of the urban centers combined with the emphasis on tradition, sense of aesthetics, and attention to detail make it one of the most exciting places to visit and an inexhaustible land for novel experiences, modern and ancient.