Japan's Far North
Multi-day Guided Hiking & Sea Kayaking Tour from Wakkanai
5 Day Hiking & Sea Kayaking Tour
The breathtaking mountain ranges and wild coastline of Japan’s northern frontier will quench your thirst for adventure on this multi-day guided hiking & sea kayaking tour.
Tour Duration5 Days
Minimum Travellers4 People
Included Meals4 Breakfasts
- Island hopping in Japan’s northernmost National Park
- Hiking on the “floating flower garden” – Rebun Island
- Sea kayaking & fishing with a local island guide off Rishiri Island
- Savour the Northern Islands’ seafood oriented gastronomy
About Japan’s Far North
Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park sits at the very top of Hokkaido and is the northernmost of all the 34 national parks in Japan. The southern tip of Sakhalin Island (Russia) is only 40kms/25miles away from our most northern point, this is as Far North in Japan as you can get! The gateway city to the Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park is Wakkanai, which has both an airport (WKJ) and a railway station.
There is no other place in Japan where you can explore the striking Siberia-like landscapes in such close proximity to the ocean, fishing villages and rural settlements. This tour is perfect for adventurers who dream of deep exploration into remote corners of Japan where most travellers will never have the opportunity to visit.
Leave the sticky summer heat behind and enjoy the refreshing summer hiking in this subarctic region!
Who is this tour for?
- Active hikers who enjoy coastal walking for 3 to 5 hours a day
- Adventurers who love island hopping & exploring remote outposts
- Curious travellers who prefer locally run accommodation in scenic locations
Japan’s Far North Hiking Tour Itinerary at a Glance
*B: Breakfast D: Dinner
Day 1 Group meets in Wakkanai & Ferry to Rebun Island (L, D)
Day 2 Hike on Rebun Island & Ferry to Rishiri Island
– 4.2km/2.7miles (B, L, D)
Day 3 Sea kayaking & hiking on Rishiri Island – 6.4km/4miles (B, L, D)
Day 4 Hiking on Rishiri Island – 12km/7.5miles (B, L, D)
Day 5 Ferry to Wakkanai & Farewells (B)
Tour InclusionsItems that are included in the cost of tour price.
- 4 nights accommodation on twin share basis
- 4 breakfasts, 4 lunches & 4 dinners
- Ferry to/from Rebun & Rishiri Islands
- Guided hiking on Rebun & Rishiri Islands
- Sea kayaking & fishing tour off Rishiri Island
- All transport as described in the itinerary
- English speaking local guide(s)
Not includedItems that are not included in the cost of tour price.
- Optional activities mentioned in the itinerary
- Personal expenses
- Drinks with included meals
Ferry to Rebun Island & Hiking
This tour kicks off in Wakkanai, the northernmost city in Hokkaido and Japan. Your group will meet at around 9:00 am in Central Wakkanai. You can fly directly from Tokyo Haneda to Wakkanai Airport with ANA, or alternatively take a JR (Japan Railway) train, which takes just over 5 hours from the Sapporo JR Station.
Once everyone is together, we will hold a short meeting to introduce ourselves and brief everyone on our upcoming adventure. Then we catch a ferry to Rebun Island at 10:30 am and in just under 2 hours we will arrive at Rebun, nicknamed ”floating flower garden”.
Japanese flower lovers flock to this island each June to admire the rare alpine flowers that can be sighted in lower altitudes. Later in the season we are still able to enjoy our island adventure without the crowds but the remnants of summer can still be felt in the warm water and long twilight.
After getting off the ferry, we’ll walk along the Momoiwa Trail, which starts near the ferry terminal and will take us down to the southern tip of the island. This popular trail provides unique scenery combining the ocean, rugged coast, neighbouring Rishiri Island and the colourful flowers along the trail.
After the trek, we’ll set off to our accommodation on the coast, where we’ll settle in for the night. (L, D)
Hiking Distance – 6 km / 3.7 miles
Elevation – 250m / 820ft
Time – 3 to 4 hours
Hiking on Rebun Island & Ferry to Rishiri Island
Today we’ll explore the northern part of Rishiri Island starting from Cape Sukoton. The cape is the northernmost end of the Rishiri Island, which overlooks the small rocky islands dotted over the blue ocean extending to the north. On a clear day, you will be able to catch sight of Sakhalin Island of Russia over La Pérouse Strait.
This is as far north as you can get! We’ll continue walking on the trail exploring Cape Gorota and Cape Sky where the area features an exotic look covered with low vegetation, due to being a subarctic zone.
Once we complete the walk, we will travel by van to the ferry terminal to catch a late afternoon departure for Rishiri Island. The forty minute ferry ride takes us to a completely different landscape as Rishiri is literally an island volcano with a peak marked at 1,721m /5,646ft.
After checking into our home for the next three nights, we will go out for a stroll to Cape Peshi, a little peninsula with a height of 90m/295ft, safeguarding the port. We will have dinner at our accommodation, prepared by our host using fresh seafood caught around the island. (B, L, D)
Hiking Distance – 12km / 7.5miles
Elevation – 280m / 920ft
Time – 5 to 6 hours
Sea Kayaking, Fishing & Hiking in Rishiri Island
The host at our accommodation is a local outdoor guide who was born and raised on Rishiri Island and knows every corner of his territory! He will be our guide for our half-day sea kayaking & fishing experience, using his fleet of three double kayaks which have been customised for fishing.
Today we will split into two groups, one group to sea kayak in the morning and hike in the afternoon, and another group to do the same activities in reverse order. The ocean life around Rishiri is rich in diversity as well as in volume, we won’t need to go far offshore to catch fish so we’ll stay close to the shore and explore the rocky coast.
On land we will walk in the native conifer forest at the foot of Mt Rishiri-Fuji to the famous Himenuma, a little mirror lake which reflects the figure of Rishiri-Fuji on its surface. Tonight we dine out at a local izakaya bar restaurant to experience the island nightlife. (B, L, D)
Sea Kayaking Time – 3 hours
Hiking Distance – 6.4 km / 4 miles
Elevation – 280m / 919ft
Hiking Time – 3 to 4 hours
Hiking to Mt Rishiri-Fuji
If the weather permits, we’ll take on the challenge of climbing Mt Rishiri, also known as Rishiri-Fuji, marked at 1,721m/5,645ft. The island climate makes Rishiri-Fuji a difficult peak to reach as it can be extremely windy and cold at any time of year.
Japanese hikers who are determined to conquer the peak often stay in the island for a week, waiting for the ideal weather conditions to hike the mountain.
If the weather is not right for climbing Mt Rishiri-Fuji then we’ll set our goal to hike Mt Chokan just below the 1,200m/3,937ft mark and turn back without continuing onto the summit of Mt Rishiri-Fuji.
Please be aware that depending on the weather and sea conditions, we may switch the programmes of Day 3 & 4. (B, L, D)
Hiking Distance – 13 km / 8.1 miles
Elevation – 1,430m / 4,690ft
Time – 9 to 10 hours
Ferry to Wakkanai & Farewells
This morning we will board a ferry for Wakkanai just before 9:00 am, and say our goodbyes at Wakkanai Ferry Terminal at around 10:30 am. (B)
Please note that the stroke on the map doesn’t indicate the actual hiking routes.
Travel to the Meeting Point
We will meet in Central Wakkanai between 8:30 am and 9:00 am on the first day. The closest airport to Wakkanai City is Wakkanai Airport (WKJ). The airport shuttle bus for downtown Wakkanai is scheduled to connect with all the incoming flights from Tokyo and Sapporo. The cost is 700 yen per person. It is recommended that you arrive in Wakkanai the day before the tour starts, in this case, we are more than happy to assist you with booking your pre-tour accommodation.
An alternative to flying is to travel by train (Japan Railway, abbr. JR), which travels 3 times a day between Sapporo and Wakkanai, and takes just over 5 hours. The cost is 11,090 yen for a reserved seat. Upon booking, please let us know your travel plans to Wakkanai, and we will confirm in detail where and what time we will meet on the first day.
You can search train timetable in English on Japan Transit Planner website.
Japan’s Far North Hiking & Sea Kayaking Tour Accommodation
|DAY 1||Minshuku||Ensuite||Heated spa|
|DAY 2||Hotel||Ensuite||Onsen spa|
|DAY 3||Hotel||Ensuite||Onsen spa|
|DAY 4||Hotel||Ensuite||Onsen spa|
What to Bring on your Japan Far North Hiking & Sea Kayaking Tour
- Waterproof jacket and pants
- Mid- to high-cut hiking boots
- Fleece or down jacket (even in the summer the temperature can drop below 10℃)
- Thermal layers top & bottom
- Base layers top & bottom
- Spare pairs of socks
- Gloves, beanie, and items to keep you warm
- Sun hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses
- Water bottle or hydration system (more than 2L)
- Head torch
- Personal medications
- Rain cover for backpack
- Backpack with enough capacity to carry all the above
- Travel insurance
- 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.
- Walking poles
- Cellphone power bank
- Snacks which you’re used to eating while hiking
- Swim suit for brave swimmers
- First-aid kit
- Safety equipment and maps
Please note that you will be asked to show your passport when checking in accomodation in Japan. It is a requirement for accommodation providers to take a photocopy of the passport of international visitors.