Up at 6am after a quiet night at Wakanai michi no eki. It is a long trek to the toilets in the night but, at least, when you get there, they are modern and clean.
Ferry to Rebun Island
We drive the short distance to the ferry port, about 2 minutes, and buy our tickets. We then return to the michi no eki for breakfast with 30 minutes to spare before boarding.
Back at the ferry terminal, we leave the car in the pay car park. People do leave their cars in the michi no eki car park; we feel, probably stupidly, that this is a bit rude.
The ferry we take stops first at Rishiri Island before reaching Rebun. The stop at Rishiri is surprisingly brief. Most passengers get off here, but a few replace them. The whole voyage takes about 2 hours.
On arrival, we take a local bus from Kafuka ferry terminal to Shiretoko. This is a short 10-minute trip. Once at Shiretoko, we follow the Momoiwa Observation Course.
＊Heart Land Ferry : Wakkanai – Rebun(Kafuka) 2nd class return ; 5700 yen / adult
＊bus ; 290 yen / adult
Momoiwa Observation Course
This hike takes you along the western side of the island and brings you back to the ferry port after 3 to 3 and a half hours. The walking is nor arduous and the views and landscape just superb. It is famous, of course, for flowers of which there were an abundance but even without flowers it would be a magnificent walk.
The island of Rebun is long and narrow so, at times, there are sea views on both sides with the volcanic cone, which is Rishiri, rising out of the ocean behind you.
The weather was mostly hazy sunshine and much warmer than we had anticipated, and we even sighted the extremely rare Rebun Astsumoriso. A flower only found on this tiny island.
There were other walkers on this course but, surprisingly given the season, few and far between. Occasionally we met up with tour groups of 15 to 20 people but mostly we walked alone. I highly recommend this walk to anyone.
Once back at the ferry port, we drink a welcome beer and wait for our hotel to pick us up. We have a reservation for two nights at Rebun-So, a small hotel at the northern end of the island. Right on time we are picked up in a minibus and taken to the hotel.
Not what you would call picturesque but this place is cheap and cheerful with friendly staff. The food is plentiful and very good. I say that even though it was necessarily fishy, something I am not overly fond of.
Tomorrow we have a longer walk planned but the weather is forecast to deteriorate.
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.