A far-northern island getaway with trekking, cycling and seafood to savor
Okushiri Island is a hidden gem off the southwestern corner of Hokkaido, offering adventurous travelers a unique and unforgettable experience. Known for its rugged beauty and interesting rock formations along the shoreline, Okushiri Island is a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
To get to Okushiri Island, you have two options: ferry or plane. From Hakodate, you can take a two-hour bus ride to the port of Esashi, and then a further two-hour ferry ride to the island. Alternatively, you can take a direct flight from Hakodate Airport, which will get you to Okushiri Island in just 30 minutes.
Once you arrive on the island, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy. One of the best ways to explore Okushiri Island is by hiking along its scenic trails. The island offers a variety of hiking routes, ranging from easy walks to more challenging treks. One popular trail is the Mt. Tamashima hike, which offers panoramic views of the island and the surrounding sea.
If cycling is more your style, you can rent a bike and explore Okushiri Island’s breezy coastline. The island is relatively small, making it easy to cycle around and discover its hidden gems. As you ride along the coast, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the Sea of japan and the emerald hue that has been dubbed “Okushiri blue.”
For those who prefer water activities, Okushiri Island offers opportunities for sea kayaking and snorkeling in the clear blue waters. During the summer months, you can take a kayak out and explore the coastline, or grab a snorkel and discover the underwater world teeming with marine life. The island’s waters are famous for abalone and sea urchin, so make sure to indulge in some fresh seafood while you’re here.
After a day of adventure, unwind and relax at Kamuiwaki Onsen, Hokkaido’s westernmost hot spring. Situated on the coast, this hot spring offers stunning views of the sea and is the perfect place to watch the sun go down. Soak in the mineral-rich waters and let the stress of everyday life melt away.
One of the highlights of Okushiri Island is its unique rock formations, particularly the famous Okushiri Arch. This donut-shaped granite arch has been sculpted by the wind and waves, and stands at an impressive 19.5 meters high. Located off the island’s east coast, the arch is a must-see and is even more spectacular when illuminated at night.
In addition to its natural beauty, Okushiri Island is also known for its delicious seafood. As a seafood lover’s paradise, the island offers a variety of culinary delights. One of the island’s signature dishes is a bowl of fresh abalone and sea urchin on rice. The combination of the tender abalone and the creamy sea urchin creates a flavor explosion that you won’t soon forget. Don’t forget to pair your meal with a glass of Okushiri’s own wine or sake.
Overall, Okushiri Island is a hidden paradise that offers a unique and unforgettable experience. Whether you’re hiking along its scenic trails, cycling along the coastline, or indulging in its delicious seafood, there is something for everyone to enjoy. So make the detour to this far-northern island getaway and discover the beauty and adventure that awaits you.
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