About Seseki Waterfall (seseki-no-taki [セセキの滝])
The Seseki Waterfall (seseki-no-taki [セセキの滝]; “Hot Spring Falls” in Ainu?) was a rather unsung and obscure but tall seaside waterfall spilling towards a sleepy village on the east coast of the Shiretoko Peninsula.
Of course, this was really a waterfalling excuse to experience the Seseki Onsen, which was a seaside hot spring that’s free and public when it’s not high tide.
When it’s high tide, then the onsen can be submerged under the sea water, making it unsafe for bathers given the combination of deeper water and waves.
Nevertheless, seaside hot springs like this aren’t very common in Japan (let alone the world), and the novelty of bathing here while staring at the sea or even the Seseki Falls in the distance was a real treat.
There were two pools at the Seseki Onsen, but the smaller cold one was a feeder pool for the larger hot one.
Needless to say, it’s the larger hot spring that you’ll want to bathe in, but definitely watch out for very hot water that bubbles in because it can easily burn you in those spots.
The water in the Seseki Onsen can also be a bit on the slimy side given the amount of algae that grows here.
Apparently, donations are appreciated for periodic clean up of these onsens.
Anyways, going back to the waterfall, despite it being essentially roadside, it’s so obscure that it didn’t even appear to have an official sanctioned pullout or car park.
Therefore, we actually had to walk to this waterfall from the Seseki Onsen, which did have a public car park (see directions below).
The roadside walk along the narrow road between Seseki Onsen and Seseki Waterfall (so passing cars did have to swerve around us) was about 800m in each direction (or 1.6km round trip).
It was during this walk that we noticed the main industry was cultivating seaweed (so there was definitely a strong seaweed smell here).
Harvesting seaweed was apparently a big deal in and around the Rausu side of Shiretoko Peninsula because they apparently supply high quality seaweed to the rest of Japan.
There was also road work going on during our mid-July 2023 visit, where we saw crew rappelling and doing dangerous work trying to mitigate against rockfalls potentially impacting the Route 87 Road.
It was dangerous, but necessary work because this was the only road going up and down this coastline.
Overall, we spent about 45 minutes away from the car.
That said, I did see one driver “cheat” by pulling out in an unsanctioned driveway to get his shot before continuing on.
The Seseki Waterfall resides north of the town of Rausu in the Menashi District of Hokkaido, Japan. It may be administered by the local authorities in Rausu. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting the Nasukarasuyama Tourism Association website.
The Seseki Waterfall resides north of the town of Rausu on the eastern coastline of the Shiretoko Peninsula.
So starting from Utoro, we headed north on the National Route 334 for 32km going over Shiretoko Pass towards the town of Rausu on the east coast.
Then, at the signed junction with the Route 87 within Rausu, we turned left to cross the bridge over the mouth of the Rausu River to continue going north on the Route 87.
We followed this coastal road another 22km to the signed car park for the Seseki Onsen, which was about 800m past the Seseki Waterfall.
Again, there wasn’t a legal car park specific for the Seseki Falls, which was why we had to keep driving to the car park and then we had to walk back to the falls.
Overall, this drive took us a little over an hour give or take.
For some geographical context, Rausu was about 32km (over 30 minutes drive) east of Utoro, 68km (under 90 minutes drive) northeast of Shari, 155km (over 2.5 hours drive) northeast of Kushiro, 265km (about 4.5 hours drive) northeast of Obihiro, 303km (over 5 hours drive) east of Asahikawa, and 439km (about 6.5 hours drive) northeast of Sapporo.
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