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July 10, 2016 - Hokkaido Day 9 - Wakkanai, the Northernmost City of Japan
It's Day 9 in Hokkaido and I found myself waking up in the sleepy northern town of Wakkanai. From the hotel window, Wakkanai was drenched in rain and the sky was completely gray.
I checked out of the hotel and requested them to take care of my backpack as I headed out to explore the city. I went to the bus station located within the Wakkanai JR station to get a return ticket to my first tourist spot of the day: Cape Soya, the northernmost point of Japan.
At Cape Soya, I had an hour's worth of time to kill before the returning bus arrives. I checked out some of the statues and monuments erected around the area.
After I'm done with Cape Soya, I boarded the bus back to Wakkanai station. From there, I boarded another bus and made my second trip to Cape Noshappu, hoping to be able to see the view of Rishiri-Fuji from the distance.
Unfortunately, the weather was so bad that Rishiri-Fuji wasn't visible at all from the boardwalk. There was still plenty of time left to kill, so I decided to check out the nearby aquarium. To my delight, the aquarium was free for the day! For a small aquarium, the exhibits were really nice especially the seal and penguin enclosures where I got to see marine animals up close. I started to regret removing Asahiyama Zoo in Asahikawa from my itinerary.
Once I was satisfied with Cape Noshappu, I headed back to town to have lunch and killed some more time by visiting Wakkanai's local shrine, Hokumon Jinja.
It was time to pick up my backpack at the hotel and I headed to the direction of the train station. Nope, I'm not taking the train out of Wakkanai as I'm not done with the city yet. After all, why would I bother coming to Wakkanai just to gain bragging rights that I've visited the northernmost point of Japan? I'm here in town to visit the region's most famous attraction. And that is...
My next destination is Rebun Island, famous for its alpine flowers and full-day trekking courses. At the Heartland ferry terminal, I reunited with Udon-san and there were so many local tourists waiting for the ferry to Rebun.
At last, I have set foot on Rebun Island and both Udon-san and I parted ways at the Kafuka ferry terminal.
While Udon-san went on to his lodging just a few minutes away on foot, I took my last bus ride of the day to the town of Funadomari on the northern side of the island.
Once I arrived at Funadomari, I checked in at Minshuku Kaido, a family-style inn that was apparently well-known among the locals.
Although I booked a dormitory room for JPY6000, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I got a single room for myself as there were not that many guests for the day. My experience in Kaido escalated when I was served a sumptuous spread of crab, sashimi and sea urchin for dinner. I had a friendly chat with the other local Japanese guests and the evening ended perfectly with a beautiful sunset right in front of the inn.
Now this is what I call a real holiday.
After experiencing omotenashi in Minshuku Kaido, I can say that I had no regrets spending my money to reach Rebun Island. Tomorrow, I will go flower hunting and tackling one of the trekking courses available on the island.
Visit my Flickr album for more pictures of this trip.