A remote island off the north west coast of Hokkaido, Rishiri Island (利尻島, Rishiritou), despite its kanji, means ‘high island’ in Ainu language. From the Wakkanai Port, it takes an hour and forty minutes to reach the port (a 53 km distance) at Rishiri Island.

Details of Rishiri Island

The island has a population of approximately six thousand people, and is located in the Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park. The center of the island lies Rishiri Volcano, which is a popular hiking area.

The months most suited to see the beautiful alpine plants is from June to August. During summer, you can climb the mountain while watching the snow melt. In the last week of September, you may even catch the sight of the first snow fall on the mountain! They’re both equally romantic to watch.

Rishiri Island Bus

Book a nature tour by Soya bus on the islands to cut down on travel time. You can enjoy the sights of nature scenery while riding the bus. There are two courses for Rishiri Island: A Course (3,300 yen) and B Course (3,100 yen). The first course takes you to the magnificent Rishiri Fuji town and nearby areas such as marshes and observatory, the second course is a tour of the scenic spots of Rishiri (skipping the museums in Course A). The B Course is usually only available from June to end of August, while the A Course is only available on certain days in May and June till end of August.

As the course may change depending on the months, check the Soya bus website for the latest information.

Rishiri Island Skiing

Ever experienced skiing without plenty of other skiers to disturb your skiing? If no, skiing on Rishiri Island is not to be missed. Backcountry skiing season starts from late February to early March, but you can still ski in April. Reason being, in the late winter and or in spring, there are more days with good weather. No matter when you visit, the wind will be strong, but you can always make sure to ski in areas where the winds are blocked by the mountain.

You can ski in peace, and the best of all, a wonderful view of the sea from the sides of the mountain!

Ski gears are not rented at many locations, be sure to bring yours or arrange the rental before you visit.

Spot information

  • Spot name: Rishiri Island
  • Street address: Rishiri Island, Rishiri District, Hokkaido, Japan.
  • Access: Take the boat from the Wakkanai Port, it takes an hour and forty minutes (53 km) to reach the port at Rishiri Island. Renting a car will make travel super easy on this island. But if you’re travelling alone, perhaps taking the bus tour or renting a bicycle would be more affordable.