Japan/Hokkaido: Shiretoko National Park
Shiretoko National Park is a true gem – protecting a finger-like peninsula jutting our toward the Kuril Islands. Both the western and eastern coastlines are dotted with spectacular cliffs and seastacks and beaches and super-panoramic views. His is the most remote part of Japan and also the highest concentration of brown bears. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (UNESCO actually proposed this to be a trans-boundary natural park with Russia, but Japan refused). In the middle of the peninsula stretch the Shiretoko mountains with the near-perfect conical stratovolcano of Rausu. And from the Rausu Pass, you get a superb panorama of the island of Kunashir in Russian Kuril Islands (where I was just a couple weeks prior). There are also plenty of active volcanic features in the park – like geysers, hot springs everywhere, and even a hot river and a hot waterfall!