Found in Japan's wild northern island of Hokkaido, Rishiri Island is a destination for nature lovers and people seeking true adventure. In the language of Japan's indigenous Ainu people, "Rii Shiri" means "high-peak island." When seen from a distance, it's easy to see why this is the case: Mount Rishiri, an extinct volcano, dominates the island's center like something out of a movie.
Many spots around Rishiri Island offer incredible views of Mt. Rishiri. To see them all, we recommend trying out the "Mt. Rishiri 16 Scenic Spots Stamp Rally," a stunning scenic drive around the island. To discover what types of scenery await the visitor we gave it a try.
- Table of Contents
- What is the Mt. Rishiri 16 Scenic Spots Stamp Rally?
- First location: Nearby Cape Peshi Observation Deck
- Pay attention to the time for visiting the famous Rishiri Island tourist spot Himenuma!
- Spot 11: the Nozuka Observation Deck
- Spot 8: Near Numaura Observatory - the iconic landscape that appears on Hokkaido's famous confectionery!
- Take a short break with a light meal and sweets
- Spot 6: Near Minamihama Wetlands - still lots more things to see!
- A short break before the last spurt!
- And we have completed the rally!
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 dramatically 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.
Mt. Rishiri is also called "Rishiri Fuji" and depending on 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!
First location: 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.
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利尻富士町観光案内所
- 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.
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 walking about two or three minutes you will come to an open space.
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 backlights 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.
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.
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.
Let's pick up our pace a bit and move along now to the next vantage point.
Spot 11: the Nozuka Observation Deck
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.
Next is Spot 10: 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.
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.
Spot 8: Near Numaura Observatory - the iconic landscape that appears on Hokkaido's 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.
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.
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.
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!
Take a short break with a light meal and sweets
I next visited Spot 7: near Otatomari Marsh, which 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 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”.
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.
It is famous for its giant Rishiri scallops fried in butter and its Hamanasu (Beach Rose) ice cream.
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.
- 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
Spot 6: Near Minamihama Wetlands - still lots more things to see!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Drive on for another seven minutes.
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.
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.
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 an excellent way to make sure that you don’t miss a vantage point recommended by an islander. If you want to enjoy your visit to Rishiri Island, I heartily recommend this challenge!
Rishiri Mountain 16 Scenic Stamp Rally利尻山十六景スタンプラリー
- 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
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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