Rebun Island – 礼文島
Have you ever heard of Rebun-tō? If this is not the first time you come up to this name, you probably heard it just a few times before.
Rebun-tō (“tō” is the suffix for “island”) is an island located offshore from north-west Hokkaidō, a land with many different features and lanscapes. Rebun island is one of these interesting areas; its name in the Ainu language, “Repun Shiri”, means “offshore island”.
What’s special about Rebun-tō?
Rebun-tō is famous for being the homeland of some gronw-wild rare flowers and plants, therefore it’s also called “flowers island“. Among these rare flowers the “Usuyukisō” (leontopodium microphyllum) is quite interesting: similar to the European Alps’ Edelweiss, Usuyukisō has longer petals. Rebuntō offers unique lanscapes: it might look bleak, but in the months of July and August, when flowers bloom, it becomes a place rich of nature.The contrast between mountains’ dark green and sea’s deep blue is impressive.
This island’s highest spot is the top of mount Rebun-dake, 490 meters above the sea level: in clear days, from there it is possible to see Rishiri-tō’s island mount Rishiri Fuji‘s shape.
How to get to Rebun-tō
Rebun island is far from every city, also from Hokkaidō’s chief town, Sapporo: thus it is hard to take a day trip. If you come from Kantō area, planning a trip of two or more days would be better.
Rebun’s closest airport is Wakkanai Airport, you can fly there directly from Haneda Airport.
■ From Wakkanai Airport the first thing to do is getting to Wakkanai city: here the “Sōya bus” can take you to the “Ferry Terminal” (in about 35 minutes at the price of 590 yen).
There are only three round trips in a day, but schedules match with ANA flights timetable.
You can also reach the Ferry Terminal by taxi for 4.000 yen.
From there, get on the “Heart Land Ferry“, and you will arrive at Rebun island’s Kafuka port in less than two hours (the ticket’s price is 2.300 yen).
It is possible to embark a car on the ferry (at the price of 17.000 yen), but once you are on the island there are only a few roads. There are nice hiking paths, so we advise you to explore Rebun by feet.
■ From Rishiri Airport, reach Oshidomari Ferry Terminal by bus or taxi. From there you can get to Kafuka port (in 40 minutes for 400 yen).
My impression of Rebuntō
I have been to Rebun during my week in Hokkaidō: when I was heading to the island from Wakkanai I felt really excited! I have been immediately impressed by the shore’s colour. I got off the ferry and reached Kafuka village: this place is located in the very heart of the island, so it’s a good spot to start exploring.
I stayed at Funadomari, in the northern part of Rebuntō, a very nice place, with its sea, its beach and its hills.
On the west coast the are two hinking paths, a four hours one and a eight hours one.
In the east coast you can find roads for cars, bikes and buses. I took the bus to go from Kafuka to north, and reached Sukoton-misaki. There I met many seals who were about to dive in the deepwater! The island offers Bed&Breakfasts, Ryōkan and campings, but I advise you to book early, expecially if you want to visit Rebuntō in the summer.
Here the nature holds sea and mountain in a unique landscape: if you have the opportunity, visit this wonderful island!