West coast of Rebun Island, Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park

Hokkaido Mountains & Islands
15 Day Self Guided Adventure Tour

Self-guided Hiking Tour from Sapporo to Hakodate

from
¥278,000

Explore the best of Hokkaido’s breathtaking alpine and island landscapes on this incredible self guided hiking adventure through Japan’s northernmost island.

  • Tour Duration

    15 Days
  • Minimum Travellers

    1 Person
  • Accommodation

    14 Nights
  • Tour Starts

    Sapporo, Hokkaido
  • Included Meals

    14 Breakfasts
    10 Dinners
  • Tour Finishes

    Hakodate, Hokkaido

Tour Highlights

  • Hike the diverse natural settings of Daisetsuzan National Park
  • Explore the high moors of Kogen Onsen, habitat for Ezo brown bears
  • Hop between the twin islands of Rishiri Rebun Sarobetsu National Park
  • Stay in a range of accommodation from city hotels, Japanese-style mountain lodges to traditional ryokan with thermal springs
  • Experience first-hand the warm hospitality of Hokkaido’s rural communities and the enchanting indigenous world of the Ainu

Who is this tour for?

  • Independent travellers who like being your own guide and touring at your own pace
  • Fit hikers keen to discover trails from the mountains to the seaside
  • Adventurers who enjoy island hopping and exploring in between hiking
  • Curious travellers who enjoy staying in locally operated accommodation in scenic locations

Hokkaido Mountains & Islands Self Guided Tour Itinerary at a Glance

*B: Breakfast D: Dinner
Day 1 Lake Shikotsu, Shikotsu-Toya National Park (D)
Day 2 Lake Shikotsu (B, D)
Day 3 Asahidake Onsen (B, D)
Day 4 Asahidake Onsen (B, D)
Day 5 Kogen Onsen, Daisetsuzan National Park (B, D)
Day 6 Kogen Onsen (B, D)
Day 7 Wakkanai (B)
Day 8 Rebun Island, Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park (B, D)
Day 9 Rebun Island (B, D)
Day 10 Rishiri Island (B, D)
Day 11 Rishiri Island (B, D)
Day 12 Sapporo (B)
Day 13 Shiraoi (B)
Day 14 Hakodate (B)
Day 15 Finish after breakfast (B)

Tour Inclusions

Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • 14 nights accommodation on a twin share basis
  • 14 breakfasts and 10 dinners
  • GPX data for the suggested hiking routes
  • Detailed instructions on how to use public transport as outlined in the itinerary
  • Full English speaking phone support

Not included

Items that are not included in the cost of tour price.
  • Any activity fees
  • Any entrance fees
  • Transportation costs
  • Guide
  • Airfares
  • Personal expenses
  • Drinks with included meals

Sample of a day-to-day guide

  1. Day 1 Lake Shikotsu

    New Chitose Airport or Sapporo JR Station*

    56mins/¥1,050 per person

    Lake Shikotsu Onsen

    Arrive at New Chitose Airport (CST) by plane. You will transfer to Lake Shikotsu on a direct bus leaving from the airport (56mins/¥1,050 per person). Lake Shikotsu is a picturesque caldera lake within Shikotsu-Toya National Park. Being the closest National Park to Sapporo, it is a popular getaway for locals, and it’s also the perfect location to rest after your flight. The lakeside is blessed with natural hot springs (called ”onsen” in Japanese), which you can enjoy bathing in at your accommodation tonight. (D)

    *JR : Japan Railway

  2. Day 2 Lake Shikotsu

    Today is a very flexible day where you can explore to your heart’s content! Feel free to discover the lakeside on foot, call by the Visitor Centre, or join a half-day guided canoe trip on the Chitose River flowing out of Lake Shikotsu. For such half-day tours, booking is essential and costs start from ¥10,000. (B, D)

  3. Day 3 Asahidake Onsen

    Lake Shikotsu Onsen

    38mins/¥950

    Chitose JR Station

    113mins/¥5,460

    Asahikawa JR Station

    93mins/¥1,450

    Asahidake Onsen

    Today you’ll be heading from Lake Shikotsu to the Roof of Hokkaido in Daisetsuzan National Park, situated in the heart of Hokkaido. You can take a local bus (38mins/¥950) to Chitose JR* Station, and then a train to Asahikawa JR Station via Sapporo (113mins/¥5,460).

    Asahikawa is the second-largest city after Sapporo and there are many great eateries in the city. We recommend trying a bowl of the city’s famous Asahikawa Ramen (soy-sauce based noodle soup) for lunch, before taking another bus to Asahidake Onsen (93mins/¥1,450).

    Asahidake Onsen is a popular entry point to Daisetsuzan, Japan’s largest National Park, and has easy access to hiking trails. Enjoy the onsen here in the fresh mountain air, located at 1,100m / 3,610ft above sea level. (B, D)

  4. Day 4 Asahidake Onsen

    Asahidake Onsen

    15mins/¥2,900 per person return

    Sugatami Station

    Mount Asahidake (6 km / 3.7 miles, 5 to 6 hours return)

    Nakadake Onsen (10 km / 6.2 km, 5 to 6 hours return)

    Sugatami Station

    15mins

    Asahidake Onsen

    Today we suggest hiking all the way up to Hokkaido’s tallest peak Mt. Asahidake (2,291m / 7,516ft) with the help of a cable car which will take you from Asahidake Onsen to Sugatami Station at 1,600m / 5,250ft. The hike to Mt. Asahidake is a constant ascent over gravel and volcanic rocks, however you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the expansive Daisetsuzan Mountains that extend to the south.

    Alternatively, you can take a more leisurely hike to Nakadake Onsen from Sugatami Station. Nakadake Onsen is a natural thermal spring site hidden in the midst of the mountains. The water is not deep enough for you to fully soak your body in, but it has been a popular foot spa site for local hikers for many years (these hiking details are described in our 1-day guided tour page Mt Asahidake 1 Day Hiking Tour and Nakadake Onsen 1 Day Hiking Tour).

    You will stay at the same accommodation as last night at Asahidake Onsen, so you can enjoy your day hike without having to carry your overnight luggage. (B, D)

  5. Day 5 Kogen Onsen

    Asahidake Onsen

    88mins/¥1,450

    Asahikawa JR Station

    115mins/¥2,140

    Sounkyo Onsen Bus Terminal

    40mins/¥0

    Kogen Onsen

    Today is a travel day to Kogen Onsen, a more secluded part of Daisetsuzan National Park. From Asahidake Onsen, you’ll take a bus down to Asahikawa JR Station (88mins/¥1,450) then change to another bus leaving for Sounkyo Onsen (115mins/¥2,140).

    Sounkyo is an onsen resort village in a deep gorge, featuring dramatic columnar jointing cliffs. In the charming Sounkyo village, there is a visitor’s centre, a photo museum and a free foot spa all within a walking distance from the Sounkyo Bus Terminal.

    You will be picked up by a staff member from your accommodation at 4:30 pm to head for Kogen Onsen (40mins/¥0). The mountain inn here has a rustic character with an open-air spa, where you can enjoy gazing at the night sky in total tranquillity. (B, D)

  6. Day 6 Kogen Onsen

    Kogen Onsen

    Kogen Numa Hike
    (8 km / 5 miles , 5 to 6 hours return)

    Kogen Onsen

    Today is a free day which you can enjoy at your own discretion. You can choose to just relax at your accommodation or go for a day walk to admire the alpine plants and ponds in the wetlands right on your doorstep.

    Due to the fact that this area has a high density of brown bears, before walking into the wetlands please call into the Bear Information Centre to find out about the latest bear sightings and movements in the area. Onigiri rice balls, Japanese hiker’s favourite lunch for hiking, can be ordered the day before to carry energy with you for your day hike (¥700). (B, D)

  7. Day 7 Wakkanai

    Kogen Onsen

    40mins/¥0

    Sounkyo Onsen Bus Terminal

    115mins/¥2,140

    Asahikawa JR Station

    3h48m/¥8,360

    Wakkanai

    This morning you will be driven by the Kogen Onsen staff back to Sounkyo Onsen Bus Terminal at 10:00 am (40mins/¥0) and take a connecting bus to Asahikawa (115mins/¥2,140). Here you will board an early afternoon JR train to Wakkanai, the northernmost city in Japan (3h48m/¥8,360).

    On your train journey north, you will travel along the Teshio River and Sarobetsu Wetlands where you may briefly sight Mt. Rishiri across the sea if the weather is fine. You should arrive in Wakkanai before nighfall and will be able to enjoy a stroll around this exotic town, with the road signs written in three languages: Japanese, English and Russian! This is due to the fact that until recently Wakkanai and Sakhalin were connected by a ferry service over La Pérouse Strait, and travellers from the Russian town of Sakhalin are frequent visitors. (B, D)

  8. Day 8 Rebun Island

    Wakkanai Ferry Terminal

    2h50m, 2nd class ¥2,850

    Rebun Island Ferry Terminal

    59mins/¥1,240

    Cape Sukoton

    Misaki Meguri Walkway
    (12 km / 7.5 miles, 5 to 6 hours)

    Funadomari Township

    43min/¥980

    Accommodation

    You will take an early morning ferry (2h50m, 2nd class ¥2,850) at 7:15 am departing Wakkanai Ferry Terminal to Rebun Island which forms a part of Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park. Rebun Island is known to Japanese as an alpine flower garden floating in the ocean. Hiking trails extend all over the island from north to south. This island is also brown bear-free, and the coastline is dotted with interesting fishermen’s houses and warehouses.

    At the ferry terminal, you’ll meet a staff member from your accommodation, with whom you can leave your overnight gear to be transferred to your accommodation. We recommend that this morning you take a local bus to Sukoton Cape (departing at 10:45 am, 59mins/¥1,240) at the northern end of the island and explore the Misaki Meguri (Around the Cape) Walkway. You can take a return bus from Funadomari Township just after 4 pm (43min/¥980) to check-in at your accommodation. (B, D)

  9. Day 9 Rebun Island

    Accommodation

    Rebun Rindo Trail to Momoiwa Trail
    (6 km / 3.7 miles, 3 to 4 hours)

    Shiretoko Township

    9mins/¥320

    Accommodation

    Today is a free day, but we recommend that you walk from your accommodation to the Rebun Rindo Trail, and onto the Momoiwa Trail, which will eventually take you to Shiretoko, the southern tip of Rebun Island (3-4 hours).

    This is the most popular trail on Rebun Island for its accessibility, stunning floral scenery, dramatic coastline and views of Mt Rishiri across the sea. From Shiretoko Township, you can take a local bus to return to your accommodation (departing at 2:56 pm and 5:03 pm on weekdays, 9mins/¥320), or alternatively walk for an extra an hour back to your lodgings. (B, D)

  10. Day 10 Rishiri Island

    Rebun Island Ferry Terminal

    40mins, 2nd class ¥950

    Rishiri Island Ferry Terminal (Oshidomari Port)

    Cape Peshi (3 km / 1.9 miles, 1 hour)

    Continuing on with island hopping today, you will take a ferry across to the sister island Rishiri which departs at 1:25 pm (40mins, 2nd class ¥950). The entire island of Rishiri is a sleeping volcano and on a clear day, you can appreciate the cone-shaped peak sweeping out of the ocean to a height of 1,721m / 5,650ft.

    At the ferry terminal, you will be picked up by the staff of your accommodation for a short drive to your next lodgings. This afternoon, we recommend that you explore the short, sharp walkway to Cape Peshi near the ferry terminal. At a height of 90m (295ft), there is a white lighthouse and an incredible view over the bay with Mt. Rishiri as a backdrop. (B, D)

  11. Day 11 Rishiri Island

    Accommodation

    10mins/¥0

    Trailhead of Mt Rishiri

    Mount Rishiri (13 km / 8 miles, 9 to 10 hours)

    Trailhead of Mt Rishiri

    10mins/¥0

    Accommodation

    If the weather conditions permit, you may like to take up the challenge of hiking to the summit of Mt Rishiri, also known as Rishiri-Fuji. It is a strenuous hike, as you start climbing from just over 200m / 656ft all the way up to 1,721m / 5,645ft. The accommodation staff can drive you to the trailhead of the Mt Rishiri hiking trail in the early morning on request. If you wish, a trekking guide can also be arranged in advance to accompany you on your hike.

    The total walking distance is 12km (7.5miles) from the trailhead, which generally takes a full-day, 9-10 hours. Make sure you order a packed lunch at your accommodation the day before to take with you. The alternative to this long hike is a shorter one way walk to Pon-Yama, leading to Himenuma Pond, a popular visitor stop with a nice view of Mt Rishiri (8km / 5miles, 5 hours walking).

    From Himenuma Pond, you can take a bus back just after 2 pm to a bus stop near the accommodation. If you would like a break from hiking, you can also book a guided sea kayaking and/or fishing tour through the accommodation (booking essential, cost ¥8,800). (B, D)

  12. Day 12 Sapporo

    Rishiri Island Ferry Terminal

    1h40m, 2nd class ¥2,550

    Wakkanai Ferry Terminal

    4h50m/¥6,200

    Sapporo JR Station Bus Terminal

    Now it is time to say goodbye to the islands. You’ll depart Rishiri Island at 8:30 am on the ferry heading back to Wakkanai (1h40m, 2nd class ¥2,550). At 11:30 am from the Wakkanai ferry terminal, hop on an Express Bus departing for Sapporo, Hokkaido’s capital city (4h50m/¥6,200). Your bus will arrive at 5:20 pm at Bus Terminal at Sapporo JR Station. (B, D)

  13. Day 13 Shiraoi

    Sapporo JR Station

    65mins/¥3,250

    Shiraoi JR Station

    This morning you will take a JR Express Train from Sapporo Station to Shiraoi, a town right on the Pacific Ocean (65mins/¥3,250). Shiraoi offers travellers a great opportunity to learn about Hokkaido’s indigenous Ainu people and their culture. This town hosts of the most prominent Ainu sites in Hokkaido, the first National Museum of Ainu ”Upopoi”, which opened in April 2020.

    Both the museum and your accommodation are within walking distance from the Shiraoi JR Station, you may wish to leave your luggage in a coin locker at the Station or at your accommodation before heading to the museum. You will be staying at a newly opened guesthouse tonight, within short walking distance to izakaya bars for an unforgettable local dining experience. (B, D)

  14. Day 14 Hakodate

    Shiraoi JR Station

    2h40m/¥7,260

    Hakodate JR Station

    Today you will take a JR train to transfer to Hakodate City (2h40m/¥7,260), positioned as a gateway to/from the mainland Honshu. There are ferries, bullet trains and flights servicing Hakodate to help you transit to your next destination in Japan. Hakodate is one of the most historic cities in Hokkaido, as it was the first place where the Japanese settlement began in Hokkaido. Today it remains as a popular travel destination for both domestic and international visitors. A popular evening activity here is the Mount Hakodate Ropeway, which you can take up to the top of the hill to see the city lights overlooking the peninsula. (B, D)

  15. Day 15 Hakodate

    Your tour finishes after breakfast at the hotel. Hakodate is known for its morning market so be sure to check out the fresh seafood before you leave Hokkaido! (B)

    Thank you for travelling with Adventure Hokkaido, safe travels and we hope to see you back again one day soon.

Travel to Hokkaido

The closest airport to the start location of this tour is Sapporo New Chitose Airport (CTS). You can fly into this airport from several major international airports on Mainland Honshu: Tokyo Haneda (HND), Tokyo Narita (NRT), Osaka Kansai (KIX), and Nagoya Chubu Centrair (NGO).

From our neighbouring Asian countries such as South Korea, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, there are also direct flights into CTS. For further information on how to get to Hokkaido please refer to our blog post.

You can search train timetables in English on the Japan Transit Planner website.

Accommodation on your Hokkaido Mountains & Islands Adventure Tour

DAY 1 & 2 Hotel Ensuite Onsen spa
DAY 3 & 4 Ryokan Ensuite Onsen spa
DAY 5 & 6 Ryokan Shared bathroom Onsen spa
DAY 7 Hotel Ensuite Onsen spa
DAY 8 & 9 Minshuku Shared bathroom Heated spa
DAY 10 & 11 Hotel Ensuite Onsen spa
DAY 12 Hotel Ensuite No spa
DAY 13 Hostel Shared bathroom No spa
DAY 14 Hotel Ensuite Onsen spa

What to Bring on your Hokkaido Mountains & Islands Adventure Tour

Essentials

  • Waterproof jacket and pants
  • Adequate footwear for hiking
  • Footwear that you don’t mind getting wet for canoeing
  • Fleece or down jacket (even in the summer the temperature can drop below 10℃)
  • Base layers top & bottom
  • Gloves, beanie, and items to keep you warm
  • Sun hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses
  • Water bottle or hydration system of more than 1.5L
  • Quick-dry hand towel
  • Toiletries
  • Personal medications
  • First aid kit
  • Rain cover for backpack
  • Backpack with enough capacity to carry all of the above
  • Travel insurance
  • Passport
  • Cash in Japanese yen. Small restaurants and shops in rural parts of Japan do not accept credit cards. Lunch in general costs 1,000-1,500 yen and dinner 2,000-3,000 yen. You can withdraw cash from an ATM at a post office and 7-eleven convenience stores.

Recommended

  • Walking poles
  • Motion sickness pills for the boat rides (available to purchase locally)
  • Cellphone power bank
  • Snacks which you’re used to eating during the activities
  • Camera

Please note that you will be asked to show your passport when checking in accommodation in Japan. It is a requirement for accommodation providers to take a photocopy of the passport of non-Japanese guests.

What to bring on your Hokkaido Hiking tour graphic