HOME Hokkaido Hokkaido Wakkanai Journey to the magnificent scenery around Mt. Rishiri (pictured on the Shiroi Koibito package)!
Journey to the magnificent scenery around Mt. Rishiri (pictured on the Shiroi Koibito package)!

Journey to the magnificent scenery around Mt. Rishiri (pictured on the Shiroi Koibito package)!

Date published: 10 July 2019

Mt. Rishiri, the main peak on Rishiri Island, is also depicted on the package of the famous Hokkaido confectionery Shiroi Koibito. There are many spots on the island, such as Himenuma and Otatomari Marsh, which command excellent views of Mt. Rishiri. We recommend the Mt. Rishiri 16 Scenic Spots Stamp Rally, a drive around the island enabling you to enjoy the magnificent scenery as though you were on a treasure hunt! To discover what types of scenery await the visitor we gave it a try.

Shiroi Koibito no Oka [White Lovers’ Hill] This nearby view of the snow-covered Mt. Rishiri is said to be that of the mountain used on the package of Shiroi Koibito (photo provided by Rishiri Fuji-cho Tourism Association).

Rishiri Island floating in the Sea of Japan off the northwestern part of Hokkaido is a round shaped island with Mt. Rishiri at its center rising to an altitude of 1,721 meters. There are many scenic spots on the island, such as Otatomari Marsh, Shiroi Koibito no Oka, and Himenuma, all offering picture-perfect views of Mt. Rishiri.

Going around these vantage points is the best way of going sightseeing on Rishiri Island. To do that we recommend the Mt. Rishiri 16 Scenic Spots Stamp Rally.

What is the Mt. Rishiri 16 Scenic Spots Stamp Rally?

The Mt. Rishiri 16 Scenic Spots Stamp Rally is an enjoyable way to see the island. There are 16 scenic spots on the island and at each there is a commemorative rubber stamp that can be impressed on a sheet designed for it. The stamp rally was intended to be a way to encourage visitors to visit each of the sights. It can be enjoyed from the end of April until the end of October.

There are 16 stamp locations! (photo provided by Rishiri Fuji-cho Tourism Association)

Mt. Rishiri is also called "Rishiri Fuji" and depending on from where you see it, it appears differently, something the local people refer to it as its 16 beautiful faces. The inspiration for this project stemmed from a desire to encourage visitors to experience the different views firsthand.

Without further ado, let’s begin the stamp rally!

After obtaining the sheet on which to impress the stamps, head to the first location which is the nearby Cape Peshi Observation Deck.

Once there, impress the first stamp on your stamp sheet.

The stamp sheets (200 yen per sheet) are sold at the Rishiri Island Station Algae Village Rishiri in the Kutsugata district in the western part of the island, and at the Rishiri Island Station by the Sea Oshidomari in the Oshidomari district in the northern part of the island.
The sheets can be exchanged for prizes at both of these locations. It doesn’t matter at which place you bought the sheet; either is OK.

Rishiri Island Station by the Sea Oshidomari is where the Oshidomari Ferry Terminal, the gateway to the island, is located.
Stamp sheets can be purchased on the first floor of the Rishiri Island Station by the Sea Oshidomari at the Rishiri Fuji-cho Tourism Information Desk.

You will receive a round sheet for the stamps together with a guide that lists hints regarding where the stamp stands are located. Part of the fun is discovering where the locations are by looking at the hints.

  • Rishirifuji-cho Tourist Information Office
    • Address 〒097-0101 北海道利尻郡利尻富士町鴛泊字港町/Oshidomari, Rishirifuji-cho Rishiri-gun, Hokkaido, 097-0101, Japan
    • Phone Number 0163-82-2201
    • Open: Early April to the end of October
      Hours: 8:00 a.m. ~ 6:30 p.m. (Until the arrival of the last ferry)
      Closed: always open during the open season

Cape Kutsugata in the Kutsugata District is the first of the 16 vantage points. Going around the 55 km circumference of the island in a counterclockwise direction the 16 vantage points are Spot 1: Cape Kutsugata to Spot 16: Near the tomb of the Aizu Clan Samurai.

It takes about one hour to drive around the island, but if you plan to stop and take photos at the vantage points, then you'll want to spend at least half a day.

You are free to choose where to start and end the stamp rally. You can also visit the vantage points in any order you like. There is no time limit.
I began at Spot 13: Cape Peshi; near the monument to the Aizu Clan Samurai which is very close to the ferry terminal.

By car it is only about one minute to the entrance of the Cape Peshi Observation Deck. There is no parking area so you have to park along the side of the road.

After going up the stairs at the side of the housing area to Cape Peshi you will proceed along a path that continues up the hill.

After walking about two or three minutes you will come to an open space.

There the gigantic rock formation of Cape Peshi will suddenly come into view.
To the right is the impressive form of Mt. Rishiri! The Oshidomari Port Ferry Terminal is visible below
The monument to the Aizu Clan Samurai is to the left. The monument was made to commemorate the dispatch of Aizu Clan samurai to guard the north during the latter part of the Edo Period.

Seeing this magnificent view from the very start heightened my expectations for the 15 spots yet to be visited!
I next proceeded to Spot 12: Inside the Himenuma shop located in the northeastern part of the island.

By the way, the eastern part of the island affords a spectacular view of the mountain in the morning. That's because as the sun rises in the east it casts light on the mountain, but in the afternoon, the sun setting in the west back lights the mountain causing it to be seen as a dark silhouette.
I continued in a clockwise direction because I started from the northeastern part of the island.

An advantage of going in a clockwise direction around the island is that you can see the ocean from the lane side of the road (out the left-side car windows)

Pay attention to the time for visiting the famous Rishiri Island tourist spot Himenuma!

Himenuma can be reached by car from the entrance of the Cape Peshi Observation Deck in 10 to 15 minutes. While looking at the ocean on the left hand side, proceed clockwise on the island, turn right on the way and go up the sloping road leading to the mountain.

It is a couple of minutes’ walk to Himenuma along the pathway from the parking lot
Himenuma is on the other side of the suspension bridge
Himenuma is surrounded by a virgin forest. Mt. Rishiri is reflected beautifully on the surface of the water on days when the wind is not strong enough to ripple the surface.

Among the 16 vantage points, this is the only one where the stamp stand is not outdoors. You will find the stamp stand inside the shop (rest house) next to the Himenuma Observation area.

The rest house is open from 9:00 a.m. until about 5:00 p.m. Please note that it is not possible to get the stamp outside of those times.
Just getting the stamp is not enough! Spend time leisurely enjoying the natural scenery, too.
The pathway around the marsh is about a kilometer long, so you can easily stroll around it enjoying the sights in about 20 minutes.

Let's pick up our pace a bit and move along now to the next vantage point.

You need to be careful not to overlook the next vantage point.

Next is Spot 11: the Nozuka Observation Deck near the Cape Nozuka Parking Lot. Leaving Himenuma and returning to the road running along the coast, proceed in a clockwise direction and after about 10 minutes you will arrive.

Mt. Rishiri viewed from the Nozuka Parking Area Park. Compared to the view from Himenuma, the left side is slightly bumpy and the lower top of the right side appears to be separate from the summit
You can see the coastline from the Nozuka Observation Deck on the left hand sea side of the road. There is a monument to Ranald MacDonald who was the first English conversation teacher in Japan and who had a connection with Rishiri Island.

Next is Spot10: Near Ohkarasawa Bridge. Spot 11 can be reached in about three to five minutes going along the road, but it is rather difficult to find. It is on the left after crossing over the little bridge called Ohkarasawa Bridge. You will need to be careful not to go past it as there are no markers indicating it.

This spot is located on the east side of the island. The view of the mountain is really spectacular when seen in the morning on a fine day!
The mountain appears more jagged than when viewed from other locations giving it a somewhat rough appearance.

Be careful not to overlook Spot 9: near Ishizaki Lighthouse. After you drive along the road from Spot 10 for about 10 minutes you will see the red and white striped pattern of the Ishizaki Lighthouse straight ahead in the distance.

Shortly after this comes into view you will be at the next point
The stamp stand is opposite the lighthouse on the mountain side of the road. The low peak that you saw on the right will no longer be visible

Here you will be able to see the iconic landscape that appears on that famous confectionery!

Leaving here and driving for about 15 minutes you will come to Spot 8: near the Numaura Observatory located in the southeastern part of the island.

Until this point the sky had been a bright blue, but unfortunately it suddenly clouded over hiding the mountain. At times the weather on the island can be completely opposite from one place to another depending on the place, such as it being sunny in the northern part while in the southern part it is raining at the same time.

By the time I arrived it had become cloudy...

The weather on the island is unpredictably changeable so for that reason, rather than visit the vantage points in order it may be better to alter your course according to the weather.

When I returned several hours later I could see the summit of the mountain as the sun had passed behind it!

The Numaura Observatory is commonly called the Shiroi Koibito Hill. And it is said that it is the view from here that was used for the motif on the package of the Shiroi Koibito, the classic confectionery gift of Hokkaido.
The view from here is superb and is the one used on the package. The shape of the mountain can be seen beautifully.

This is the view when the weather is nice and there is no snow. (photo provided by Rishiri Fuji-cho Tourism Association).

If you have a photograph taken here at the Shiroi Koibito Hill and then post it at the Tourism Information Desk at the Oshidomari Ferry Terminal, you will receive a Proposal Certificate free of charge. This is something unmarried couples should definitely do!

The Proposal Certificate is officially recognized by Ishiya Confectionery, the manufacturer of Shiroi Koibito.

Take a short break with a light meal and sweets

I next visited Spot 7: near Otatomari Marsh that is located at the foot of this hill. By car it takes about five or six minutes. This is a famous sightseeing spot visited by almost every tourist who comes to Rishiri Island.

The surrounding area was clear and sunny but clouds covered the mountain top. The stamp stand is rather difficult to find as it is located in the rear of the parking lot and to its side
This is the spectacular view when the weather is nice! (photo provided by Rishiri Fuji-cho Tourism Association).

The mountain is beautifully reflected on the surface of the water, just like at Himenuma, when the wind is too light to ripple the surface. Everyone who visits at times like this calls it the “Reversed Rishiri Fuji”.

Many water fowl on the surface. It’s quite impressive when they all take flight at once!

There are a few shops selling souvenirs and light refreshments situated along the shore of Otatomari Marsh. This is a good place to take a break.

I visited the Rishiri Fuji-cho rest house called Matchan’s Shop.

It is famous for its giant Rishiri scallops fried in butter and its Hamanasu (Beach Rose) ice cream.

The Fresh Grilled Scallop (left, 300 yen), served only between spring and early summer, and the Scallop Cooked in Butter, with asparagus (right, 500 yen), served between early summer and autumn
The scapular of the scallop is huge! The thick meat has great texture!
The fresh flavor of the Beach Rose ice cream is most popular (left). Kumasasa Tea (right) and Beach Rose ice cream are also popular. The Kumasasa Tea is similar in taste to matcha (300 yen each)

Wanting to provide a sweet typical of this northern region, local areas in Hokkaido make their own versions of Kumasasa soft ice cream. Stop by Otatomari Marsh and give it a try.

  • Mashchan's shop
    • Address 〒097-0211 北海道利尻郡利尻富士町鬼脇沼浦 利尻富士町レストハウス内/Oniwaki, Rishirifuji-cho Rishiri-gun, Hokkaido, 097-0211, Japan
    • Phone Number 0163-83-1028
    • Open: Mid-April to the end of October
      Hours: 8:00 a.m. ~ 5:00 p.m.
      Closed: always open during the open season

There are still lots more things to see! Enjoy walks through nature and contact with animals.

Having refreshed ourselves with a bite to eat, let’s resume our travels.
Spot 6: near Minamihama Wetlands is next. It is about five minutes by car from Otatomari Marsh.

Here the sky was clear and blue, but the mountain shrouded in clouds.

There are small marshes within the wetlands and you can walk around the area. This has become such a popular sightseeing spot in recent years that it is not uncommon to see groups of sightseers brought by tour buses walking around.

Even if you can’t see the mountain you can still enjoy the gorgeous scenery
It is even more beautiful when you can see the mountain! In October the summit becomes covered in snow and the base of the mountain is dyed in autumn colors (photo provided by Rishiri Fuji-cho Tourism Association)

Continuing on with the rally we arrive at the next vantage point, Spot 6: inside Misaki Park, a spot where you can enjoy getting up close to the animals. Driving another 10 minutes takes us to Senhoshi Misaki Park located at the southern tip of the island.

Normally you can see the mountain from here, but it was hidden by clouds on this day.
At Senhoshi Misaki Park you can captured the mountain and sea together in one photo
Walking down to the beach...
We encountered a seal!
At the nearby shop you can buy food (100 yen) to feed the seal. The speed at which the seal approaches is quite impressive!

This pen was originally made to keep fish, but now between spring and autumn seals are borrowed from the aquarium for sightseeing.

You can freely walk around the caged pool located near the beach (no charge)

Don’t forget to refill your water bottle!

Let’s resume our visit to another vantage point. Proceeding for another 10 minutes by car we arrive at Spot 4: near the Municipal Museum Parking Lot.

The mountain viewed from near the parking lot of the museum looks forbidding

Next is Spot 3: near Nagahama Ohkarasawa You can get there in about three minutes by car, but the stamp stand is located in a rather difficult spot to find.
Look for Reiho Yusui, a spot where you can get artesian water that comes from Mt. Rishiri.

Reiho Yusui is on the mountain side, or right side, of the road. This water is popular among the locals who often come to obtain it.
Refilling an empty palstic bottle. The water is rich in minerals.

But you can’t see Mt. Rishiri from here. The Spot 3: Nagahama Ohkarasawa vantage point is only a few minutes’ walk from Reiho Yusui. It is just on the other side of the little bridge called Shioribashi.

From this spot you can catch a glimpse of the mountain beyond the weir in the valley. There is a chance you might miss this spot because there are no signboards identifying it. It is best to walk to it from Reiho Yusui.

Next we head to the Kutsugata district on the west side of the island to reach Spot 2: near the Yume Koryukan Rishiri Town General Gymnasium. It takes about seven minutes by car.

Mt. Rishiri viewed from the Yume Koryukan parking area. The summit, which until now had appeared pointed, seems jagged from this viewpoint.

A short break before the last spurt!

The Rishiri Island Station Algae Village Rishiri is located in the Kutsugata district and in that facility there is the Cafe Jikyu Jisoku Rishiri ni Koishi Mise, which roughly translates to “the self-rest, self-contained shop in love with Rishiri”. It’s a good place to stop by and take a break for lunch or sweets. It’s about four or five minutes by car from Yume Koryukan.

The building is a renovated old warehouse that retains its original charm and is called Rishiri Island Station Algae Village Rishiri. It was here that the idea for the stamp rally came about.
  • Rishiri Island station Seaweed village · Rishiri
    利尻 島の駅 海藻の里・利尻
    • Address 〒097-0401 北海道利尻郡利尻町沓形本町53-1/Kutsugata, Rishiri-cho Rishiri-gun, Hokkaido, 097-0401, Japan
    • Phone Number 0163-84-2514
    • Open: 9:00 a.m. ~ 5:00 p.m.
      Closed: always open (closed on Sundays between November and March)

If you go three or four minutes beyond here you will arrive at Spot 1: Inside Cape Kutsugata Park.

The road inside the park only goes in one direction and the vantage point is a wider space in the road after passing the front of the Cape Kutsugata Park Camp.
The stamp stand is near where the people are gathered. The island clearly visible in the distance is Rebun Island.
There is a small, picturesque lighthouse in the park.

We are now down to the last three spots. After leaving Kutsugata we head towards the Oshidomari area where we began our journey. You’ll arrive there after a seven- or eight- minute drive.

Spot 16: near the tomb of the Aizu Clan samurai. This is the view from the Tanetomi Parking Area Park on the right-hand side, mountain side, of the road.

Drive on for another seven minutes.

The view from Spot 15: near Ohiso Parking Area on the right-hand side of the road.

Driving on you will pass by the Rishiri Airport. After about seven minutes you will arrive at the next destination, Spot 14: inside Fujino Garden. This vantage point is near the northern tip of the island.

The view from Fujino Garden. The foot of Mt Rishiri is clearly visible from here.
There is an observation deck about a three-minute walk from the parking area. You really must see the view from here!
If you turn and look back you can clearly see the shape of Rebun Island.
Ponmoshiri Island, a small uninhabited island, can also be seen on the way towards the observation point. There were many sea gulls when I visited.
The view during sunset from here is really spectacular! The sun sets behind Rebun Island
Getting the final stamp

And we have completed the rally!

It is about five minutes by car from Fujino Garden to Oshidomari Ferry Terminal where we began the stamp rally. Let’s take our paper with the stamps of the 16 spots to the tourism information office.

I received a commemorative gift!
As a souvenir, you can receive the following: commemorative envelope and postcard, and a laminated seaweed book marker handmade at "Rishiri Island Station Seaweed Village Rishiri" (2 sets shown in the photo)
Proof of visiting all 16 spots! The stamps are in a pattern showing each of the 16 vantage points, so when viewed at a later date the memory of each can be recalled.

So, how did you like the stamp rally of Mt. Rishiri’s vantage points? Of course it is possible to enjoy driving around the island, but doing the stamp rally increases the enjoyment as though you were on a treasure hunt! This is also a good way to make sure that you don’t miss a vantage point recommended by an islander. If you really want to enjoy your visit to Rishiri Island, I heartily recommend this challenge!

  • Rishiri Mountain 16 Scenic Stamp Rally
    • Address 北海道利尻郡利尻町/Rishiri-cho Rishiri-gun, Hokkaido, 097-0401, Japan
    • Phone Number:0163-84-2514(Rishiri Island station Seaweed village - Rishiri )
      Open: End of April to the end of October
      Closed: always open
      Fee: 200 yen for the stamp paper

※Unless explicitly mentioned, all prices include tax.

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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