Hi!! I came back with another travel post. This time I’ll write about my one day trip to Rebun and Rishiri Island on the top of Hokkaido island. Yes, I went to both of them in one day. Both Rishiri and Rebun Islands are small islands located on the topmost of Hokkaido. In order to go there, you’ll need to fly to Wakkanai.
Wakkanai is the northernmost city in Japan and is the capital of Soya sub-prefecture. The weather can be really freezing in winter, and average 20 in summer. When I went there, it was 14, windy and raining. A summer jacket was not enough for me at that time.
If you want to go to Rebun or Rishiri, you might have to spend a night in Wakkanai (or staying in the islands).
There are some places you can see in Wakkanai, such as Noshappu Cape (ノシャップ岬) and Soya Cape (そや岬). Soya cape is the northernmost point in Japan and if you go there, you’ll get a certificate indicating that you’ve been in the northernmost point in Japan. On clear day, you can even see Russia from Soya Cape.
I went to Noshappu only because Soya Cape is a bit far from Wakkanai station and the bus is not that frequent. I’d suggest you to rent a car if you go deep down in Hokkaido wilderness.
(The cold never bothers me anyway…. Just kidding. It still bothers me)
The journey to Rishiri is quite far as well. I spent a night at Wakkanai and woke up early the next day to catch the Ferry at 7AM. I booked a tour for Rishiri and Wakkanai Island (the tour will cost around 3500-5000¥). I’d suggest you to book the tour early during the peak season (weekend or summer holiday).
Why I’d suggest a tour? If you don’t have a car, the bus in Rebun or Rishiri only runs once every hour. Renting a car is a better option. You can either rent in Rebun or Rishiri island (which is slightly a bit more expensive) or rent in Wakkanai and bring them with you to Rebun or Rishiri.
The Ferry is operated by Heartland Ferry. It cost around 2300 one way to Rishiri (Oshidomari Port) and Rebun (Kafuka port) from Wakkanai Port. The journey to Rishiri or Rebun will take around 110 minutes. You’ll need to pay additional 20.000 if you bring your car to the ferry. They sell light food inside the ferry.
As soon as we reached Rishiri, the bus tour had already wait near the port. Rishiri island is famous for hiking and trekking. In the middle of the island, there’s a mountain called Mt. Rishiri and it’s very famous because it’s the mountain you can see on Shiroi Koibito chocolate package.
The bus took us to Himenuma (Hime Swamp) which we can actually see the mountain reflection on the pond. But the weather was so bad and we cannot see anything.
We also went to Otatomari Ponds where we can see the exact mountain as the one on the snack package, but again… we cannot see anything. Well, at least there’re a shop nearby the pond where you can eat butter-grilled hotate (clam).
(Hokkaido Clam is so big, I bet you’ll never find something this big in Tokyo)
Despite the bad weather (it was raining the whole day and it’s so foggy as well), the tour was very pleasant. We stopped at history museum in Rishiri and also the bus did a brief stop so the guide can explain the things we saw along the road. On clear weather, you can see Rebun Island from Rishiri.
(Taken from the fishing village where we feed the seal)
We also got the chance to feed a seal (azarashi). Seal is one of the common animal in Rebun and Rishiri Island.
I’ll come back again to Rishiri one day, and hopefully… the weather will be super good that day.
The bus dropped us at Oshidomari port around 12PM. I’d suggest you to find something to eat at the Ferry because the tour at Rebun starts as soon as you landed on Rebun Island.
The journey from Rishiri to Rebun (and vice-versa) will cost around 800¥ and 30-45minutes one way. It’s not tha far compared to the journey from and to Wakkanai Port. We reached Rebun around 1PM and again, we found the bus near Kafuka Port.
There’re several tours in Rebun because Rebun is a bit bigger than Rishiri. We took the tour that took us to the northern part of Rebun ( we did not stop by Momoiwa)
Our first stop in Rebun is Sukai Cape (スカイ岬). It’s is a viewing point in the northwestern part of Rebun Island. If you climb the hill, you’ll get a very beautiful view with blue sky, blue sea, and Nishikamidomari Port.
The view is great already despite the bad weather. Can you imagine if the weather was better?
There’s also a food stall in this cape if you want to grab a light snack. However, if you go by tour, the bus won’t stop for long (approx 1.5 hours)
The next stop in Rebun Island is Sukoton Cape (スコトン岬). This cape is located at the northernmost tip of Rebuntou and on clear weather, you can see the Shakalin islands of Russia.
In Sukoton Cape, you can also find the northernmost hotel and toilet in Japan. Haha, yes, you read it correct, the northernmost toilet in Japan. If you get a room in that hotel, you’ll might even see seals in the morning. The hotel itself is located near the cliff, so I cannot really see the inside.
Maybe if the weather is good, the view will be even better. Sukoton is normally the starting point of hiking/trekking because it connects to the other capes in Rebun Island. In Sukoton, there’s also a modern shop/cafe where you can get souvenirs from Rebun (mostly seafood).
(Sukoton, with the view of uninhabited island Todojima)
To be honest, I was a bit disappointed because I came all the way from Tokyo and the weather was so bad (that’s why I don’t even post a lot of photos). And not only that, with tour bus, sometimes they don’t even stop and only explaining while you see the view from your windows. I cannot even get the view from where I sat..
However, I bet Rishiri and Rebun is really pretty when the sun is out. I’ve seen some of my friends’ photos and they’re really pretty. So.. here’s my trip when visiting Rebun and Rishiri.
- Just.. rent some car. I know it’s expensive, but the tour in only in Japanese and you won’t be able to have a lot of time to relax and take some photo
- Check the weather before you go.
- Go really early if you want to visit both islands in a day (I left at 7AM in the morning and reached at 9AM).
- If you go by tour, packed some lunch with you and eat at the Ferry. You won’t have any time to sit in a restaurant.
- Never go with public transport, it’s not that frequent. You want to go back to Wakkanai, right? 🙂
That’s my post for Rishiri and Rebun Island. Maybe, I’ll go there again one day.
Have a good day and as usual, your comments are always loved!