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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

Rishiri & Rebun 利尻島 & 礼文島エリア

Enjoy cycling and trekking on two remote islands in Japan's far north

Rishiri and Rebun, two small islands off Hokkaido's northernmost point, look like something out of a fantasy novel. Think sweeping coastal views, landscapes ranging from wild and craggy to rolling and green, wildflowers and quaint fishing villages, and best of all minimal signs of civilization.

You'll find hiking trails from easy to challenging and places to cycle so that you can take everything in. Add delicacies from the sea, and you've got the perfect island experience.

Don't Miss

  • The view from the summit of Mt. Rishiri
  • Seeing the surroundings from Momoiwa Observation Deck on Rebun Island
  • The fresh sea urchin and seaweed taken right from local waters

How to Get There

You can reach these two islands by plane and ferry from Sapporo and Wakkanai, respectively.

Rishiri Airport is a one-hour flight from Sapporo's Okadama Airport. Rishiri and Rebun are approximately two hours away by ferry from Wakkanai. A ferry goes between the islands if you want to see both on the same day.

Quick Facts

There are only four ferries per day

You can take a car or bike on the ferry, but for a car, you will need to reserve at least a day in advance

Another peak in Mt. Fuji's image

Known as Rishiri-Fuji for its resemblance to Mt. Fuji, Mt. Rishiri provides a 360-degree panoramic view of the island's wetlands and forests from its summit, as well as views of neighboring Rebun Island and even Russia's Sakhalin Island.

Every July, Rishiri has a festival to mark the start of the official climbing season, but you can trek up from late June to early October. There are a few climbing routes, but be aware that you'll need to be in shape and prepared for an ascent.

Enjoy seasonal floral magic

Rishiri Island looks beautiful year-round. Some of the alpine plants here are truly unique and can only be found on Mt. Rishiri. The blossoming skunk cabbage flowers signal the coming of spring, colorful flowers bloom in the summer, autumn leaves blanket the landscape in the fall, and in winter snow covers Rishiri.

Cycling around the island

You can rent bicycles and follow the dedicated 25-kilometer cycling road around Rishiri, stopping along the way to explore the forested areas. Camping is also an option.

The charms of the other isle

Rebun is the smaller of the two islands. Roughly 300 varieties of alpine plants grow wild here, even at sea level, and Rebun is known as the “Floating Island of Flowers.” The peak flowering season is from May to August, and a stroll through the blooms is a calming and exhilarating experience.

Cape Sukoton, at the northernmost point of the island, shows an entirely different face of the island with its rough, eroded coastline. So do the crags of Cape Gorota.

Here's where to look

Some of the best sightseeing on Rebun can be done from the Momoiwa Observation Deck in the south. There are numerous trekking courses, and sightseeing points almost perfectly surrounded by flowers, including a spot where you can view Mt. Rishiri. From Cape Kanedano, you can see seals basking in the sun from early summer to early winter.

A note about the weather

Charming flowers can be enjoyed from late April to mid-September, and are particularly popular throughout the high tourist season from July to August. Keep in mind that from November to February the seasonal winds grow strong, and the average temperature between December and February drops to around -7 degrees Celsius. During this time, the ferry service may also be suspended.

How long should I stay?

A three-day stay is recommended if you want to see both islands in leisurely fashion and do some hiking and cycling, but you can see a lot of both islands in just a day if you take a sightseeing bus. The buses follow the ferry schedule, making everything easy.

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