The most northern tip of Hokkaido, served by Wakkanai Airport, is one of the least explored areas in the prefecture – and indeed, Japan. Featuring a view of Eastern Russia on a good day, the nature you will find here is rugged but impressive and is thus perfect for the more adventurous type. To get you started, we have compiled a short list of three activities that serve as an introduction to this unique area. For consistency’s sake, this selection is best enjoyed in the summer month, and will take you along the northern coast and to the nearby Rishiri and Rebun Islands.
Our first suggestion is a true adventure, one that will take you to Rebun Island. Run by Maruzen Kanko out of nearby Reshiri Island, this tour first consists of sea kayaking Japan’s most northern waters. Out on the sea, it is likely that you will be greeted by a flock of seals, which generally congregate off Rebun Island’s western coast. Once you have arrived on the island, one of Japan’s most remote spots, the next task is to set up camp! Indeed, you will spend a night on one of the beaches of island, having the entire area to yourself. Whilst gazing at the starry-eyed sky at night, you will truly will recluse in a secluded nature that very few get to experience.
227-5 Sakaemachi, Oshidomari, Rishirifuji-cho, Rishiri-gun
Rishiri Kamui Park
Located on (you guessed it!) Rishiri Island, Rishiri Kamui Park lets you get a taste of the lifestyle of local fisherman. There are a wide variety of activities available to visitors, including making Japanese souvenirs or taking in the nearby flower fields. However, the absolute highlight remains going out to sea for a fishing experience. Specifically, the loot is an absolute staple of Japanese cuisine: sea urchin. Boarding a fishing boat uand using the specialized net the locals call “tamo”, you will learn how to fish the delicate urchins. If that was not enough, the highlight comes at the end, when you will literally taste the spoils of labor. Wrapped in seaweed, add a splash of soy sauce for the perfect indulgence.
149-2 Kutsugata Kamui, Rishiri-cho, Rishiri-gun, Hokkaido
Cycling the Ororon Line
The Ororon Line is the nickname given to the road stretching out along the Sea of Japan and consisting of Route 231 and 232 with an intimidating scope of over 380 kilometers. In lieu of the entire line, we recommend specifically cycling the northern tip near Wakkanai, which includes Japan’s most northern spot at Cape Soya. Indeed, we recommend flying into the northern city and then heading down the West Coast – how long you end up cycling for is up to personal preference. The Ororon Line is famous for its breathtaking coastline views, which stretch out seemingly endless in front of you. Of course, cycling is recommended in the summer months, which provide a cool but temperature climate that makes touring by bicycle enjoyable. On route, be sure to stop by and indulge in the local seafood to refuel for the next leg of your journey!