To every Singaporean who wants to visit Japan for the first time and take a break from all the city buzz in Tokyo, here are hidden nature-filled destinations in Hokkaido that can be easily accessed via car, train, or ferry.
Rishiri Island is a remote island located on the northwestern coast of Hokkaido, Japan. The volcanic peak of Mount Rishiri dominates the island and has stunning natural landscapes, diverse beauty of flora and fauna, and a tranquil atmosphere. Rishiri Island is a haven for nature lovers, hikers, and those looking for a peaceful rest from city life.
The most convenient way to get to Rishiri Island is by air or ferry. The airports in Sapporo – New Chitose Airport and Sapporo Okadama Airport – have flights directly to the Rishiri Airport, with a flight duration of approximately 50 minutes. Tourists can rent a car from the airports or use the local bus to explore the island.
Another alternative would be taking a ferry from Wakkanai to Rishiri Island. This mode of transportation is the most popular one among tourists. The ferry trip named ‘The Heart Land Ferry’ is approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes, and it operates between Wakkanai and the Oshidomoro Port (Rishiri Island’s port). It is advisable to book your ferry tickets in advance to avoid long queues and secure your seats.
Rebun Island is the sister island of Rishiri, also known as the ‘Island of Flowers’. Rebun Island is rich with vibrant alpine wildflowers and green landscapes. Like Rishiri Island, Rebun also offers a serene environment, perfect to rest from the hustle of daily life.
Rebun Island can also be visited by taking a ferry from Wakkanai, the northernmost city of Hokkaido – the Heart Land Ferry. The ferry operates between Wakkanai and Rebun’s Kafuka Port, which can take up to approximately two hours of travel. It is still advisable to pre-book your ferry tickets, especially during the peak seasons.
For those who visit Rishiri Island first before going to Rebun, there’s also a ferry service connecting the two islands. This ferry runs between Rishiri’s Oshidomari Port and Rebun’s Kafuka Port, with a travel time of approximately 45 minutes.
Rausu is a coastal town on the Shiretoko Peninsula’s eastern edge in Hokkaido. This is part of the Shiretoko National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This place offers tourists a chance to encounter wildlife and enjoy its rugged coastlines, dense forests, and serene lakes. Similar to the previous two destinations, Rausu is a place if one wants to escape urban life.
This place is also abundant with marine life, including various species of whales, dolphins, and seabirds. Rausu is a popular destination for wildlife spotting and has a thriving fishing industry.
A popular way to reach Rausu is by car. It is a 3-hour drive from Memanbetsu Airport, located near Abashiri, following National Route 335 and the Shiretoko Peninsula’s scenic roads. Renting a car to explore the region at your own pace and make stops along the way is best.
Another option is to take a bus from Utoro, which will take an hour of travel, or Kushiro to Rausu, which will take approximately four hours.
Get ready to enjoy nature and have an easy trip to Hokkaido, Japan!
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