Japan's Far North 7 Day Hiking Tour

Hikers climbing a rugged headland on Rebun Island

The breathtaking mountains and wild coastline of Japan’s northern frontier will quench your thirst for adventure on this island hopping multi-day guided hiking tour.

This tour is perfect for adventurers who dream of deep exploration into remote corners of Japan that most travellers would never have the opportunity to visit. Mountains meet the ocean on these unique islands.

The tour takes place in the Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park, which sits at the very top of Hokkaido and is the northernmost national park in Japan. The southern tip of Sakhalin Island (Russia) is only 40kms away - this is as far north in Japan as you can get!

The islands have a distinct ecosystem with striking Siberia-like landscapes in close proximity to the ocean. Leave the sticky summer heat behind and enjoy the refreshing summer hiking in this subarctic region!

Tour Highlights

Island hop in Japan’s northernmost National Park.

Discover why these islands have their own individual charms - despite being neighbours.

Hike on the “floating flower garden” – Rebun Island.

See alpine flowers growing along the seashore and search for endemic orchids.

Enjoy views of the amazing Mt. Rishiri, a stratovolcano towering above the ocean.

The imposing peak stands at 1721m and is listed as one of Japan's 100 Famous Mountains.

Explore a white walking path on Cape Soya, the northernmost point in Japan.

Enjoy an unreal view of the sea with Mt. Rishiri in the distance.

Savour the Northern Islands’ seafood-oriented gastronomy.

The waters around the islands are teaming with seafood, from scallops to konbu kelp and you won't find it any fresher than at the restaurants in the local fishing ports.

Itinerary

Day 1

The group assembles in Wakkanai City

This tour kicks off in Wakkanai, the northernmost city in Hokkaido and Japan.

Once everyone is together by 6:00 pm today, we will hold a short meeting to introduce ourselves and brief everyone on the upcoming adventure. We’ll then have dinner together to get to know each other and to get excited about the amazing trip ahead!

Stay Hotel in Wakkanai
Day 2

Ferry to Rebun Island, Hike on Rebun Island

This morning, we’ll catch the ferry to Rebun Island at around 10:00 am and in just under 2 hours we will arrive on Rebun, nicknamed the ”floating flower garden”.

Japanese flower lovers flock to this island each June to admire the rare alpine flowers that can be found at unusually low elevations. 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 will explore the southern part of Rebun Island, hiking along the Momoiwa Trail. The trail starts near the ferry terminal and takes us down to the southern tip of the island. This popular trail provides unique scenery combining the ocean, rugged coastline, neighbouring Rishiri Island and colourful flowers along the trail.

Once we’ve finished the hike, we’ll head over to our accommodation for the next two nights. Dinner tonight will no doubt feature the local speciality - plenty of fresh seafood!

Hike 4.1 km with 135 m climbing
Stay Minshuku on Rebun Island
Day 3

Hike on Rebun Island

This morning, we will explore the northern part of Rebun Island starting from Cape Sukoton. The cape is at the northernmost end of Rebun Island, overlooking small rocky islands dotted in the blue ocean extending to the north. On a clear day, you will be able to catch sight of Russia’s Sakhalin Island over La Pérouse Strait. This is as far north as you can get!

We’ll enjoy walking on the scenic coastal trail exploring Cape Gorota and Cape Sky. The blue sea that hugs rocky coves and the fishing villages here and there provide a unique island hiking experience.

Once we complete the walk, we will travel by van to hopefully see more of Rebun’s flora and fauna. Cape Kaneda is our favourite location to spot wild seals, which are often seen sunbathing on rocks on a fine day. After we finish our hikes for today, we’ll return to our accommodation for another delicious dinner.

Hike 8.5 km with 350 m climbing
Stay Minshuku on Rebun Island
Day 4

Ferry to Rishiri Island, Hiking on Rishiri Island

This morning (Jun-Sep) or in the early afternoon (May & Oct), we’ll jump on a ferry for Rishiri Island. The forty-minute ferry ride takes us to a completely different landscape; Rishiri is literally an island volcano with a summit of 1,721m above sea level.

Upon arrival, we’ll hike the often overlooked lower section of the Mt. Rishiri trail through conifer forest to Kanro Sensui, a freshwater spring renowned for its mild and sweet flavour. This spring is renowned throughout Japan for featuring in the top 100 most famous drinkable waters in the country. So make sure you’ve got a refillable bottle with you on today’s hike so you can give the water a try for yourself!

After the hike, we’ll head to our hotel for the next couple of nights, where dinner will be served.

Hike 3.5 km with 210 m climbing
Stay Hotel on Rishiri Island
Day 5

Hiking on Rishiri Island

Today, we’ll do a combined hike up to a viewpoint high above the trees on Mt. Rishiri at 760m , also visit the summit of Mt. Pon, which features great views of Mt. Rishiri itself. These hikes give us a taste of the best of hiking on Rishiri - rugged trails that push above the tree line, with the ocean lapping the shores way beneath us - while not having to do the full 11 hour slog to the summit.

We’ll start from Oshidomari Trailhead at 220m , where we finished the previous day’s hike. We set off back through the forest before quickly getting above the trees as we climb up to the viewpoint. After taking in the airy views from our high point, we head back down the trail before branching off to Mt. Pon.

If we have time, we will continue on from Mt. Pon through the native conifer forest at the foot of Mt. Rishiri to Himenuma, a famous little lake that reflects Mt. Rishiri on its mirror-like surface.

Tonight we dine out at a local izakaya bar-restaurant to celebrate our final night on the island.

Hike 11.1 km with 790 m climbing
Stay Hotel on Rishiri Island
Day 6

Ferry to Wakkanai, Walk the White Shell Path

We'll hop on a ferry back to Wakkanai today. For travellers on this tour in June to September, we have some time before the ferry’s lunchtime arrival, so we’ll be able to enjoy a hike around Cape Peshi, a lookout point which offers amazing, panoramic views of the Sea of Japan, Mt. Rishiri above, Oshidomari Port below and Rebun Island on the horizon.

Upon arrival in Wakkanai, we’ll head to Cape Soya, the northernmost point of Japan. We’ll walk through the cape’s beautiful pastoral landscape before we pick up a popular cross-country route known as the “White Shell Path”. The path is literally that - a road made from crushed white shells! Stretching across 2.6 km , we’ll follow the road to its very end. As we walk, we’ll have plenty of time to reminisce about our trip.

After the walk, we’ll head to our accommodation in Wakkanai city before we all hit the town for a delicious local dinner to celebrate the end of a successful tour.

Walk 2.7 km with 141 m climbing
Stay Hotel in Wakkanai
Day 7

Depart

Today, we’ll all go our separate ways after breakfast. If you are departing from Wakkanai Airport or Wakkanai Station this morning before 11am, your guide can give you a lift.

If you wish to extend your stay in Wakkanai, we can help to arrange your post-tour accommodation and other activities. Please indicate if you would like to extend your stay at the time of booking.

Make sure you have not left anything behind before you head to your next destination. Itterasshai!

Note: There’s always the chance that wind or wave conditions could mean that the morning ferry does not run on Day 6, meaning today, the last day of the tour, becomes the day we have to leave for Wakkanai. As a precaution, we suggest looking at afternoon or evening transportation departing Wakkanai today, or possibly even adding another night in Wakkanai to make sure you do not miss any travel connections - especially if you plan to connect from a domestic flight to an international one.

Dates & Prices

+¥44,000pp for single room
  • 2024

    1. May 26, 2024 - June 01, 2024
      Closed
    2. July 28, 2024 - August 03, 2024
      Closed
    3. September 10, 2024 - September 16, 2024
      from ¥392,000pp
      Open
      Enquire
    4. September 29, 2024 - October 05, 2024
      from ¥392,000pp
      Open
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  • Enquire About a Private Departure

Travel Style

This hiking tour is a series of day hikes; either return, loop or traverse routes. We always come back to our van at the end of the day and transfer to our accommodation. This means your overnight luggage can stay in the van and you can experience the best of Japan’s Far North hiking with just a light day pack!