Hokkaido/Wakkanai Day 3: Rebun Island, The Flower Island

Day 3 of Northern Hokkaido/Wakkanai itinerary! Rebun island and Rishiri Islands are almost like “sister” islands – They are only a short ferry’s ride away from each other and many people take the opportunity to visit both northern islands when in Wakkanai.

Day 3 – Rishiri Island – Rebun Island

Day 3 – Rishiri Island – Rebun Island
Drive from Hotel to Ferry Terminal and travel to Rebun Island via Heartland Ferry with car
Sight-seeing by car around island
*Cape Sukai
*Cape Sukoton
Lunch at Cafe Umi (Hokke burger)
Visit Rebun-cho Folk Museum (http://rebun-museum.org) 
Visit famous movie spot Northern Canary Park (Movie Kita no Kanaria Tachi)
Accessory-making workshop
Check-in at Mitsui Kanko Hotel
Dinner at Seafood Restaurant Kafuka

Unfortunately though, we experienced a bout of rather gloomy weather during our day at Rebun island, which is such a pity, because the island is known for its beautiful capes, alpine plants and nature. Many people visit Rebun island to trek, enjoy the beauty of the rare alpine plants only found on Rebun island and the sea views from all around the island!

It was still beautiful, but we did not get to see the best of the island because of the bad weather. Try to get a heads up by checking the weather forecast in advance – Hopefully that can help you plan your visit on a day with good weather!

Travelling by Heart Land Ferry (again!)

Bid farewell to Rishiri Island and the cute mascot – And then off to take Heart Land Ferry to Rebun island!

As I mentioned, Rebun island is only 45 minutes away from Rishiri Island via Heart Land Ferry. You could even explore both islands in a single day if you so wish.

Sight-Seeing Around Rebun Island

First stop on Rebun island was Cape Sukai

With your own private hire car, it’s a breeze to get around from point to point on Rebun Island.

A panoramic shot with my iPhone – Overcast but still magnificent view at Cape Sukai!

It takes a short climb to reach the top of this view and I was a bit bummed out by the gloomy weather. But it was still so beautiful at Cape Sukai, one of the most recommended views on Rebun Island. The waters here are known to be crystal clear, and you can see how blue it was even on an overcast day.

Short time-out for some grilled tako at the rest stop

There is also a little shop at Cape Sukai that sells grilled seafood and other snacks – the grilled tako is pretty popular and is worth a try.

At Cape Sukoton, Rebun island

Another famous view point, Cape Sukoton is the northernmost lookout point in the northwestern part of Rebun Island – From here, you can see Todo Island (Sea Lion Island) and even Sakhalin (part of Russia with a fascinating history) on a clear day!

Sadly, the weather got drizzly and foggy at this point 🙁 Didn’t manage to see much.

Frozen & canned seafood available at the souvenir store

If you’re thinking of purchasing some frozen seafood (note, you probably won’t be able to bring it into Singapore due to the long transit time..) or other interesting local delicacies like canned seal meat, amongst others, check out the shop nearby that sells even Kombu soft serve (didn’t try it) and more.

There are actually many more scenic view points and trekking trails on Rebun island – Sadly, the weather was really too foggy/cloudy and we were unable to see or visit many of the well-known landmarks of Rebun island.

Visit to Takayama Botanic Garden

To take a look at the rare local alpine plants of Rebun Island, we made a stop at the Takayama Botanic Garden, which also has a preserved specimen of the famous Rebun Atsumori-so, a species of wild lady’s slipper that blooms only on Rebun island.

The famous Rebun Atsumori
This modest wild flower is the mascot of Rebun island!

Word has it that the Atsomori-so used to be found abundantly on Rebun island, but now only blooms in two particular spots. Many trekkers try to search for the Atsomori-so flower during its blooming season from May to June to catch a glimpse of it in the wild.

The botanical garden also houses many other alpine plants native to Rebun island!

Lunch at Cafe Umi

Lunch at Cafe Umi (Umi means the sea or the beach)

We took a lunch break at a modern diner by the seaside – Cafe Umi. If you want some fusion-style food for lunch, head over to Cafe Umi, which is famous for their Hokke (Japanese mackerel) burger and other fusion dishes.

Lunch was really yummy! The Hokke burger was surprisingly delicious, and it was also my first time trying uni omelette rice. Rather intriguing, indeed.

Little seals in the sea!

By the way, it’s a common sight to see seals and sea lions around the seas of Rebun Island, I tried to zoom in to get this shot but it’s not very clear.. Those little dots are actually seals! How cute!

Visit to Rebun-cho Folk Museum

Rebun Folk Museum

Due to the weather, we decided to head indoors and spent some time at the Rebun Folk Museum, which there are various exhibitions showcasing the pre-historic and ancient culture of Japan, in particular some excavation sites that were discovered on Rebun island itself. Many hundreds of years ago, the Okhotsk people (fishermen-hunters) were the ancient fore-fathers of Northern Hokkaido and you can learn a lot about their olden day cultures through the exhibitions!

Visiting Northern Canary Park

The famous movie spot: North Canary Park in movie Kitano Kanariya-tachi (A Chorus of Angels).

One particularly interesting spot I enjoyed on Rebun island was North Canary Park, or Kitano Canaria Park, the filming location of a Japanese movie Kitano Kanariya-tachi (A Chorus of Angels). A very famous Japanese actress, Yoshinaga Sayuri, starred in this movie!

The movie is set in an elementary school, and this set was built especially for the movie. It was so fascinating how realistic the movie set was. I had initially mistaken it for a real school before I realised it was only a movie set! :O

Also, on a good day, there is a marvellous view of Mount Rishiri (across the waters on Rishiri Island) from here!

Apart from featuring the movie set and some information about the movie, you can also enjoy a little keyring making activity with the seashells and glass pieces picked off from the beaches of Rebun island as a little keepsake!

Exercise your creativity and paint on your seashell or glass piece to create a little keychain or charm that you can keep as a treasured memory of Rebun island 🙂 It was very fun!

Did my version of the famous Hokusai Wave 😉

Check-in at Mitsui Kanko Hotel

Our accommodation at Rebun island was Mitsui Kanko Hotel – I loved it because there was a public hot spring/onsen! 🙂 Didn’t manage to take pictures of the place because we rushed out for dinner right after check-in.

Dinner at Seafood Restaurant Kaisendokoro Kafuka

One of the most popular restaurants on Rebun island – Kaisendokoro Kafuka!

I highly recommend paying Kaisendokoro Kafuka a visit when you are on Rebun island, this popular joint is really famous for their seafood dishes, and you can either go for the BBQ-style room or the regular restaurant side, we had BBQ seafood and it was so very good!

There is no better place to get fresh seafood than Northern Hokkaido, and especially Rishiri and Rebun island. You have to try the BBQ seafood here!

It was such a hearty dinner and I’m so grateful for the kind and warm Japanese hospitality shown by our hosts! We had so much fun that we decided to head to the local karaoke pub for some songs and drinks and boy it was really really cute to see how the local Japanese people were so friendly and fun.

Had a ball of a time 🙂

That brings our exploration of the Rishiri-Rebun Islands to an end and I am excited to head back to shore with you guys to Toyotomi, another of my favourite spots in Northern Hokkaido in the next post!

Day 4 – Rebun Island – Toyotomi – Wakkanai

Drive from Hotel to Ferry Terminal and travel to Wakkanai via Heartland Ferry with car
Drive to Toyotomi-cho
Visit famous “oil” hot spring at Toyotomi Onsenkyo, Kawashima Ryokan
(I highly recommend to stay overnight here!)
Lunch at Toyotomi Onsenkyo Genghis Khan Restaurant (Lamb BBQ)
Rental of bicycles, Cycling experience at Toyotomi-cho Grassland Ranch
Break at ferme milk cafe famous for soft-serve & milk ramen (http://toyotomi-ferme.com)
Drive to 
*Cape Nosyappumisaki for view of Mt Rishiri & Rebun Island
*Wakkanai Park for historical monuments of Northern Hokkaido
Check-in at Wakkanai Grand Hotel
Dinner at Take-chan Izayaka (http://take-chan.com)

How to book any activities or tours

As this entire trip was arranged and planned by a Japanese travel agency in conjunction with Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), they have informed me that they can offer their services for those who require assistance in making any bookings!

Wakkanai and the Soya region is still relatively new to foreigners and many of the locals can’t speak very good English, you may find that you need help booking any of the above I mentioned. (From rental car, to ferry tickets to the various activities, experiences or even a translator!) Please don’t let the language barrier stop you from having the best time of your life in Wakkanai because the locals there are all so very friendly!!

For any inquiries or booking help for this itinerary at all, please email in to tours@fsight.asia in English or Chinese 🙂

Stay tuned for the next, and as always, you know where to look for me on Instagram!

Read previous Japan blog entries below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this:

Looking for Something?