Wakkanai and Rishiri

Rishiri Travel Blog

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View of the water

I flew from the Okameda (Sapporo) Airport to Wakkanai today. I arrived at the airport an hour and half early and settled in to wait for my flight. The Okameda Airport is tiny: one runway, and two gates. A half hour before the flight a Japanese announcement came over the speakers. I understood something about the flight from Okameda to Wakkanai…a problem…20 minutes. Just as I was getting up to try and find someone to translate a flight attendant came up to me and said, in English, “Excuse me did you understand that? Our plane is having some mechanical problems so we are waiting for the next flight to arrive. Once it does, we will clean the plane and then board the passengers. It should be about a 20 minute wait.”


Once everything was explained me the rest of the wait at the airport and the flight went smoothly.

First view of Rishiri Island
It was about a 50 minute flight from Sapporo to Wakkanai and my impression of Hokkaido from the air was “GREEN!”


The weather didn’t look too promising when I landed in Wakkanai and got in line for the ferry to Rishiri Island.  While I was waiting in line for the ferry I noticed that the person in front of me was carrying the Lonely Planet: Japan. I went up to him and asked him what his name was and where he was from. His name was Martin and he was from Austria. I told him that I was from the USA but living in Ibaraki. As I said that a Japanese man behind me said “You are from Ibaraki? I live in Tokyo.” His name was Toshi and after talking for a couple of minutes we realized that we were all staying at the same Youth Hostel on Rishiri.

We spent the ferry ride talking and wondering if it was going to rain.


After we got settled into the youth hostel, Martin, Toshi, and I decided to head out to a near by izakaya for dinner. An izakaya is a restaurant that serves drinks and small meals. You order a couple of small plates and then share them with the people you are eating with.


The youth hostel had an orientation to explain the different hiking and biking options on the island at 8:00 so we headed to that after dinner. We were told that the weather was not going to be good tomorrow: cloudy and rainy. Martin and Toshi had been planning on climbing Rishiri-zan (the local mountain) but decided to join me on a four/five hour hike instead. We decided to leave the hostel at 9:40, the next morning, and to take a bus to the starting point of the trail to save ourselves an hour of walking.

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View of the water
View of the water
First view of Rishiri Island
First view of Rishiri Island
photo by: tj1777