With gas clouds wreathed at its peak, it is a volcano island floating atop the ocean, off the coast of Hokkaido. It can come as no surprise that Rishiri island is proving a paradise for adventurers, at least according to host Marta Brambilla in our latest instalment of GO JAPAN!
“For anyone look for a piece of Japan, [the island] goes off the beaten track and for those who love biking and trekking, it’s sure to be your new favourite destination”
Rishiri is one of Japan’s northernmost offshore islands, and to explore its astounding natural beauty, all you need is a pair of weels (which you can rent)
“You can enjoy the lovely breeze by riding a bike, the Island is 55km long and you can easily complete a tour of it in one day,” said tour guide Mizuki Ishihara of the Rishiri Tourism Association.
On your route, you can stop off to enjoy different activities like fishing for sea urchins
“Rishiri is famous for its sea urchins, so there are many tourists coming for that.”
You can also relax by soaking in a thermal bath. In Japan, the baths are called ‘onsens’ which refers to a hot spring but also the bathing facilities and traditional inns situated around a hot spring. As a volcanically active country, the country has thousands of onsets sprinkled on all of its major islands.
In the episode, we move from the flowing onsens of Rishiri to the ruggedly-beautiful Rebun Island.
The best way to enjoy its wild beauty is by foot. And the island has many routes with varying levels of difficulty for the more adventurous. Rebun Hire Tour guide Kenji Kawamura thinks trekking lovers are sure to feel right at home.
“For trekking, I think that the best time to visit is August and September, after that the weather becomes stable. But Rebun island is called “The floating island of flowers” and the flower season is June-July. So you can enjoy Rebun island throughout the summer!
Whether it's biking, trekking, nature, relaxation you are after, the islands of Rishiri and Rebun offer a uniquely different version of Japan that’s truly worth experiencing.