Rishiri-to and Rebun-to, known as the "Floating Islands of Flowers." Enjoy cycling and trekking through exquisite scenery on Japan's northernmost inhabited islands.
The northernmost inhabited islands in Japan, Rishiri-to and Rebun-to, are located approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes to 2 hours by ferry from Wakkanai, and approximately 20 to 25 minutes by air from Shin-Chitose Airport.
It takes at least 3 days to see every part of these two islands sufficiently, but quite a bit of the islands can be seen during a one-day trip if a sightseeing bus is used. The buses allow tourists to tour both islands efficiently in accordance with the ferry schedule.
Lovely flowers can be enjoyed from late April to mid-September, and are particularly popular throughout the high tourist season from July to August. Tourists should keep in mind that from November to February the seasonal winds become stronger, and the average air temperatures in Rishiri between December and February will drop to around -7 degrees Celsius. During this time period, ferry services may be cancelled.
Mt. Rishiri-zan (1,721 m) stands at the center of Rishiri-to Island. It is known as "Rishiri-Fuji" as it resembles Mt. Fuji in shape. The appearance of Mt. Rishiri-zan is brilliant when viewed from the western coast in Wakkanai. During good weather, a 360-degree panoramic view of the swamps and forests can be seen from the summit, as well as views of neighboring Rebun-to Island, Sarobetsu Field, and even the island of Sakhalin.
Mt. Rishiri-zan accommodates a variety of alpine plants, some of which are unique to the mountain, and the flowers that populate the area are breathtakingly beautiful. Although there are climbing routes, tourists need to be well prepared for a climb to the summit.
On Rishiri-to Island there is also a 25-kilometer-long cycling road along which the coastline and forests areas can be enjoyed via a rented bicycle. The beauty on Rishiri-to Island can be enjoyed during each season. The blossoming skunk cabbages signal the coming of spring, colorful flowers bloom in the summer, autumn leaves adorn the landscape in the fall, and in winter, snow artistically covers the landscape with a dramatic blanket of white.
Rebun-to Island, located further north of the Rishiri-to Island, is more elongated, stretching out in a north-south direction in a series of gentle hills. Most of the approximately 4,300 inhabitants live in villages dotted along the east coast, although a few inhabitants reside along the west coast.
Since the island itself is located at high latitudes, some 300 varieties of alpine plants grow wild there, and as a result the island is known as the "Floating Island of Flowers." The floral season is from May to August, and tourists can enjoy hiking in the fields of flowers. Recommendations for tourism include a visit to Cape Sukoton, located at the northernmost point of the island. The rough, eroded coastline of Cape Sukoton and the protruding crags of Cape Gorota are truly splendid natural beauties.
Some of the best sightseeing in Rebun-to Island can be done at the Momoiwa Observation Deck in the south. There are numerous trekking courses and sightseeing points literally surrounded by flowers, such as the spot where tourists can view the "Rishiri-Fuji" of Rishiri-to Island beyond the sea.
From Tokyo :
[Air] 1h 50 min from Haneda to Wakkanai Airport.
From Osaka :
[Air] 2h 10 min from Kansai International Airport via Shin-Chitose Airport to Wakkanai Airport.
From Sapporo :
[Rail] 5h to Wakkanai Station by JR Hakodate and Soya lines (limited express).
[To Rishiri-to Island]
1h 40 min from Wakkanai by ferry.
1h from Chitose Airport to Rishiri-to Airport.
[To Rebun-to Island]
1h 40 min from Wakkanai by ferry.
A small commuter plane (19 passengers) from Wakkanai Airport is available.