• Kyodo

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The Shiretoko region saw an 18 percent rise in visitors in August, thanks to its recent registration on the UNESCO World Heritage List, a local government said Wednesday.

According to the town of Shari, 367,000 people visited the region last month, up from about 55,000 from the same month in 2004. More than 80 percent of the visitors last month came from outside Hokkaido.

A 70,000-plus-hectare area straddling the towns of Shari and Rausu on the Shiretoko Peninsula was designated in July as the nation’s third natural heritage site to qualify for a spot on the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s list.

The region is rich in marine and land ecosystems and is highly rated for its biodiversity, serving as a key area for salmon, migratory birds and sea mammals, including sea lions.

An official in charge of tourism in Shari said more people are inquiring about foliage in the region.

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