Day 3: Rishiri and Rebun

Rishiri and Rebun Rishiri and RebunWe woke at 5:15 in a park above Wakkanai, and we were treated to nice pastel shades from a cloudy sunrise.  Cloudy…

Rishiri and RebunUnphased, we rushed to get ready for the first ferry to Rishiri, 6:30.  We had to arrive early, as 2nd class passengers aren’t able to book tickets ahead of time (and there is no way that I can afford nor justify what they charge for 1st class, which is ridiculous anyway for such a short ferry ride… I don’t need my own private suite for a 90-minute journey).

Rishiri and RebunWatching the boat creep closer to Rishiri was quite imposing.  It was reminiscent of openings scenes of Jurassic Park (or Shutter Island).  I know I keep going on about it (and maybe I have a mountain fetish), but it’s a magnificent sight.

First up, The ‘cub was getting low of fuel, so a quick top-up (¥360 worth) and we were on our way.  Because the double seat that I had originally ordered from Yahoo Auctions hadn’t arrived yet (nor had it even been sent…), I hastily created a cushion for Risa to sit on (out of scrap foam camping mats), as she didn’t like sitting on the bare metal carry rack.  For once, she was content.  First action, breakfast!  Yet another Seicomart breakfast… although we have a huge amount of cereal (care of Costco), keeping milk cold is slightly difficult, even with an insulated box (esky).

We took our onigiri (rice balls) and looked for a nice vantage, which wasn’t hard.  It seemed at most it was a kilometre between parking areas/toilets/scenic vantage points.  We braved the (in our mind) gale force winds, and enjoyed watching the clouds pour over the top of Rishiri-zan.  It was quite a sight, the kind of sight that is usually captured and then played back at an increased speed, but it was all playing out in front of us in real-time.

Rishiri and Rebun Rishiri and RebunRishiri and RebunRishiri and RebunWe headed around the island in an anti-clockwise direction, for no reason other than it was the direction from the ferry to the first petrol station.  We took our time, stopping at each vantage point, taking in the beauty of the coastline.  It was a fun ride, even though it was ridiculously windy.  The sunshine was quite soothing and it felt nice (though, I enjoyed it a little too much, I’m glowing red, and radiating significant amounts of heat).  Sadly, the clouds obscured most of the view of Rishiri-zan, so a lot of the ‘scenic locations’ weren’t.  It seems to feel that we are constantly one day behind the optimum/perfect weather/conditions.

Rishiri and RebunWe caught a mid-day ferry to Rebun, where I caught up with someone that I used to work with in the Yakumo Board of Education.  Mr Sahashi was one of the first people that I was introduced to when I arrived in Yakumo.  He spoke a little English, and is about my age, so we would often ‘chat’ when opportunities existed.  Sahashi-san was transferred to Rebun in June (by choice!), so it was a good chance to say hello again.  I also forgot to charge my batteries the night before (GPS usage drains batteries much quicker), and ran out of power while on Rishiri.  Luckily, Sahashi-san has a compatible charger! So, two birds with one stone!  I also met the ALT posted to Rebun.  It would have been handy to know that he was there before we arrived, but, what can you do?

Rishiri and Rebun Rishiri and RebunSince we were short on time, we had to dash away to see Rebun.  We had about 3 hours until the last ferry returned to Wakkanai.  We rushed off towards the west coast to see momo-iwa, firstly from the top, then secondly from the coast.  The poor little ‘cub struggled to haul us up the steep winding roads, but it’s the little donkey that can/could.  The coast/cliffs were amazing!  Massive rocks, steep jutting cliffs, huge cubed stones all covered in grass/weeds in a spectacular fashion.  The winds were intense and the mist was rapidly thickening, reducing the visibility (and therefore the photographability) drastically.  But, we still enjoyed it, even if the resulting photos are kinda shit..

Rishiri and RebunWith only two hours until the last ferry departed (30minutes of that had to be reserved to buy tickets and board), we jumped back on the ‘cub and rode through the storm like winds (which were freezing me in my t-shirt/shorts to the core) to the northern cape, Cape Sukoton.  It’s all lies though, all the signs claim that it’s the ‘most northerly etc etc in Japan’, from the ‘most northerly public toilet in Japan’ to the ‘most northerly souvenir shop’.  But, Cape Soya in Hokkaido is further north… in fact, there is a lots of Hokkaido further north than Rebun…

By the time we were back in Wakkanai, it was about 19:30, and we were tired, hungry and sticky from all the salty winds.  First stop, a supermarket to aquire food.  You should try and find a supermarket in Wakkanai.. We drove around for kilometres, and all we found were dozens of Seicomarts.  Eventually (30minutes later) we found a supermarket, with a range (and price) that was easily surpassed by even a basic Seicomart, so I gave up and went to one for a quick curry.

There was a fancy looking onsen behind the Russian restaurant that we ate at last night (Minato no Yu), and it didn’t disappoint.  It was brand new inside, and all tastefully done.  There were a huge choice of different baths and just a generally pleasing ambience.  And, for the first time in the two days that we had spent in Wakkanai, I saw my first Russians!  Friends who had lived there before constantly complained about the numbers of Russians roaming the streets (and generally causing havoc), but we just didn’t see it.

Full and clean, all that was left was bed.  We headed back to the park on the hill above Wakkanai, and were rocked to sleep by the howling winds (that I couldn’t hear with my ear plugs in!)

What an epic day!


5:15分起床。昨晩は、ぐっすり眠れたせいか、楽しみにしていた利尻/礼文のせいか、さほど早起きが苦ではなかった☆ 高台からは、パステルな朝焼けも見られたまには、早起きっていいね。たまには。




天気は、上々でもすごい強風!バイクの後ろでもまるでスカイダイビングをしてるみたい、、時間があれば色々なコースのトレッキングをしたかったけど、今回は、カブでの島の周遊のみ。 それでも立ち寄ったどの岬もとっても澄んだ青緑の海がとってもきれいですばらしかった!!


礼文島では、まずロス君の八雲での元同僚の佐橋さんの元へ。ロスが佐橋さんからカメラのバッテリーをお借りししている間に礼文の歴史がいっぱいの博物館を案内して頂きました。礼文の土壌は、お隣の利尻島とも北海道本土ともちがっているとのこと。縄文時代から人間が住んでおり、まさかこんなに歴史の古い島だったことにはとても驚かされました! 佐橋さん、充電器と色々な情報ありがとうございました☆また今度は、ゆっくりお邪魔したいと思います。そのときは、ぜひ一緒にトレッキングしましょう!!

そんなこんなで、礼文島から稚内へ帰るフェリーまでは、3時間程、、忙しくも桃岩、猫岩(本当に桃と猫の姿そっくり!)を見に行き、礼文島のてっぺんのスコトン岬までカブを走らせました。天気もちょっと下り坂の強風、、、でも本当に澄んだ青い海は、まるで南国の海のよう。 礼文島は、島の西側には、道路がなくトレッキングのみでしか本当の美しさを堪能できないのが、残念。いつかは、手つかずの大自然を満喫するために戻ってこようと誓いをたて、稚内に戻りました〜。

今晩の晩ご飯は、スーパーで買ったビビンバセット!味は、ん〜まぁまぁ、、今晩も昨日と同じ稚内公園で車泊☆ 風が止まず、園内にある風力機がブンブン、ブンブンまわっているよー。



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  1. Dude.
    I feel like Rishiri is my homeboy ever since climbing it as my first mountain in Japan last September. I’m glad you guys made it up to there and over to Rebun to start your trek.

    Stay safe!


  2. Hi Ross.
    I found your new blog now.
    I’m happy to read your story.
    Actually, I went to Rebun when I was ten.
    I remember I was so surpried stars were very beautiful.
    That was the most beautiful stars I’ve ever seen.
    Anyway I’m so excited I found out you were in Rebun.
    I’m looking forward to your new story.
    Good luck with your trip.

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