Alpine Plants on Rebun Island, the Northernmost Island of Japan
May 22, 2014
Rebun Island is located off the coast of the very northern end of Hokkaido, two hours by ferry from the town of Wakkanai, and is the northern-most island of Japan. Most tourists visit Rebun Island to enjoy the alpine flora. Normally if one wishes to see alpine plants, this involves a climb up to 2000 meter elevations, but Rebun's extreme northern latitude means that despite its relatively flat topography, visitors can enjoy a variety of alpine plants without such heavy exertion. The most famous native plant on the island is called Rebun atsumoriso. This rare plant has fat white petals and is a protected species. Rebun is also famous for colorful flowers such as Kamchatka lily and Chishima gikyo. Other flowers that can be seen are Rebun shiogama, Ezono hakusanichige, Hiogi ayame, and Miyama odaki, to name a few. Most spots are located in the south of the island but Rebun atsumoriso is usually seen on the trail from the north descending to the southwest. On this trail, you can enjoy the ocean view and breeze and the flowers at the same time. When visiting Rebun Island, we recommend you lodge there in order to make the most of your trip and enjoy the island to the fullest. There are many accommodations on the island, including youth hostels, where you can meet fellow tourists. Rebun Island is also famous for its delicious seafood, especially uni (sea urchins) in the early summer. Hokkaido in general is famous for sea urchins, but after tasting ones from Rebun it will be difficult to settle for any others. On the ferry from the island, be sure to watch for Rishiri Fuji on the island of Rishiri (利尻島). Like its famous namesake, this volcano has a beautiful conical shape, and the ferry route provides panoramic views. If you have time you can even stop at Rishiri Island to climb the peak.