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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan. Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan.
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare. An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare.
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife. Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife.
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan. Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan.
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara. The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara.
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower. Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower.
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving. Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving.
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky. The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky.
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Nature

Wakkanai 稚内エリア

A clash of cultures in the very north of Japan

Wakkanai is a city located at the very north of Hokkaido . The city sprawls along the coast and provides access to the beautiful Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park. Given its location between Japan and Russia, this pocket of Japan is an interesting clash of cultures. Wakkanai is a must-see for people interested in the historical side of Hokkaido or the indigenous populations of Japan.

Don't Miss

  • Cape Soya, marking the Northernmost Point of Japan
  • The Wakkanai Fukuko Market for fresh fish, seafood, and souvenirs
  • Wakkanai's Port Northern Breakwater Dome heritage area

How to Get There

The best way to get to Wakkanai from the Honshu area is by plane. You can also fly or take a bus from Sapporo.

Soya Bus runs a daily service between Sapporo and Wakkanai. The journey takes six hours. Keep in mind that while this is a cheap and convenient option in summer, suspension or delays are common in winter, and snowstorms frequently close the highway.

Wakkanai Airport is 10 kilometers southeast of the city and has regular flights to Sapporo and Tokyo (Haneda), with additional summer-only services to Nagoya and Kansai. If traveling from Asahikawa, you can catch the JR Soya Honsen train.

Quick Facts

A steamship service between Wakkanai and the two islands of Rishiri and Rebun was begun in 1934

The official tree of Wakkanai is the Mountain Ash

A trade city with a diverse history

Wakkanai prospered through trade after the first Japanese settlement was established in 1685 and functioned as a trading post between the Japanese and the indigenous Ainu people.

Learn all about the area's military past

In 1879, the village of Wakkanai was founded. It was established as a town two decades later in 1901 and later grew into a city. During World War II, the city's port and harbor were used as a submarine base, and it became a city of strategic importance.

With the loss of Sakhalin in the aftermath of World War II, Wakkanai remained a military post throughout the Cold War, with American troops stationed there for much of the war. To find out more, visit the cape area of Wakkanai. The cape is home to a monument, a few shops, restaurants and a tourist information desk in the main building.

A place to relax

If you're interested in doing a little onsen hopping, then it's worth a visit to Domu and Minato-no-Yu, two local hot spring hotspots. If you don't have much time or just want to soak your feet, try the soothing footbath at Guest House Hyosetsu.

Try the delicious local seafood

Wakkanai is right on the ocean, and the local seafood is some of the best in Japan. Head to the center of the city to pick up some fresh seafood from any of the busy local shops and restaurants. The fish here is fresh, tasty and very inexpensive.

Take a cruise and explore a little further

To the east of Wakkanai Station is the Heartland Ferry Terminal, which offers boat rides to the National Park islands of Rebun and Rishiri in summer. If you are into hiking or want to see nature at its purest, take a cruise to see one or both of the islands.

Visit the fascinating island of Sakhalin

The area is best explored over a few days, and if you find yourself with a little time to spare and you're feeling adventurous, you can also visit Korsakov in Russia.

Right across from the domestic ferry terminal is the international terminal, which has biweekly trips to Korsakov, on the island of Sakhalin. The journey takes about five and a half hours. Be aware that you must arrive in Wakkanai at least two days before departure as you are not be allowed to purchase a ticket on the same day as the ferry's departure.

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