Cape Sukoton Hiking Course in Rebun 礼文島スコトン岬ハイキングコース
A little rain in the night but the morning is dry, if overcast.
Cape Sukoton スコトン岬
We take the bus from Rebun-so Hotel to Cape Sukoton, the start of the Cape Tour hiking course . This is a hike of some 12 kilometres.
The bus is very expensive, so the day passes that are available are probably a good idea if you are likely to take the bus more than once.
Arriving at Cape Sukoton we join the bus tour groups gazing across the water to Todo Island. This is a wintering spot for sea lions, but they left in April.
It is also the location of the most northerly public toilet in Japan.
Cape Course Hike
The start of the walk follows the road back the way we have come on the bus but breaks off to the right to head for the headland. This inauspicious start soon blossoms into a walk of cliff top paths with fantastic views of crumbling rockfaces and flower flecked, weathered headlands. The sea, far below, on both sides.
For most of the walk we are totally alone. Yesterday, on the Momoiwa Course, we met people along the way but on these headlands, we see only two people walking way ahead of us and they soon outpace us.
Seagulls are our only companions as they are nesting on the cliffs below. We come across stolen eggs underfoot from time to time. Cuckoos, Uguis and Siberian Ruby Throats are calling everywhere, though rarely seen as the sasa grass forms thick undergrowth.
Some of the climbs to the headlands are steep but not perilous and the views are well worth the effort. Sadly, after about 4 or 5 kilometres at Cape Gorota the path drops down abruptly to sea level and follows the curve of a beach to the fishing village of Teppu. This stretch is tedious and verging on the unpleasant.
Cape Sukai スカイ岬
On the other side of Teppu, the trail becomes a very steep, narrow and overgrown path up to Cape Sukai. We were tired and D. had shed the sole of her walking boot, so we opted to follow the road around to the cape. This was a mistake. It added a considerable distance, of road walking, to the 12 kilometre hike. Nevertheless, we followed the road out of Teppu up the hill and then turned right for Cape Sukai.
The Cape itself is splendid but no more so than others. It is accessible by tour bus, which is, I suspect, why it has a particular claim to fame. As we ate our lunch, tour groups came and went but the fundamental beauty of the place remained.
From here, after along rest, we retrace our steps and eventually out on to the main road and bus route. During this stretch on a long decline, we come across the place where the famous flower the Rebun Atsumoriso is found in some numbers.
This elusive flower blooms only in a few spots on Rebun – nowhere else in the world.
We are implored by 3 elderly wardens to come and see the flower in bloom. We comply, not wishing to disappoint them, even though we have already viewed the flowers a little further up the road.
Later, as we are walking along the main road one of these gentlemen pulls up in his car and directs our attention to a group of seals (Goma Azarashi in Japanese) stretched out on the rocks in the bay. We would never have noticed them but for his courtesy.
We trudge on, past our hotel into the village, searching for a liquor store. D. observes that fishing communities are usually lousy with liquor stores but on this island, you are hard pressed to find anyone selling anything.
This extra trip, plus the detour we made earlier, has extended out hike considerably. The distance we have walked is well into the 16-kilometre range for the day. The 8-hour Course hike plan we abandoned as being too much for us at 16.5 is, perhaps, a lesser distance. In retrospect, the 8-hour course is probably a better hike than the Cape Tour as the latter part of the Cape course is not very pleasant.
During our hike we saw two Itachi (ferrets), seals, a cuckoo, a ruby throat and a raptor we couldn’t identify plus innumerable seagulls and swifts.
The author is a long term resident of Japan who has and continues to travel the country extensively. Avoiding highways where possible, the author has driven from Kagoshima in Kyushu to Wakanai in Hokkaido covering 20,000 plus kilometres and counting.