Okushiri-to (奥尻島) is Southern Hokkaido’s only inhabited island (84km in circumference) covered with serene beech forest. This island has a couple of tranquil beaches, scenic roads, fantastically-shaped rocks and heartwarming hospitality. Okushiri’s peaceful campsites are perfect places to chill out. Choice for an overnight stay for explore the island.
Highlights Nabetsuru-iwa, Sai-no-Kawara, Okushiri West Coast, Kamuiwaki Onsen
Tourist Information Okushiri-to Tourist Information Center (奥尻島観光案内所): Okushiri ferry terminal / 9am-6pm 21 Apr-31 Oct / unimaru.com
Bike Rentals Okushiri Kanko Rent-a-Car (奥尻観光レンタカー): 748-1 Okushiri / 8am-7pm
なべつる岩 / Okushiri
About 1km south of the ferry terminal, this 19.5m-tall, donut-shaped rock is Okushiri’s iconic symbolic lies just offshore and the most popular photo spot for all visitors. The rock is lit up in the evening.
02 SCENIC PARK
うにまるパーク / 144 Akaishi / 24hrs / FREE
About 3km south of the ferry terminal, this hillside park has a unique monument of uni (sea urchin) with good ocean views, especially after dark. If you are short-distance cycling from the town center, here is a good turnaround point.
03 BEACH & CAMPING
東風泊海岸 / 143 Tamaura / Mid Apr-late Oct
About 3.5km north of the ferry terminal, you will find the island’s only sandy beach behind the private houses. It has showers and toilets. Camping is also available. If you visit here by bus, ask a driver.
宮津弁天宮 / Miyatsu / 24hrs / FREE
Founded in 1831 by local fishermen, this brightly painted shrine is built on an unusual rocky cape overlooking mainland Hokkaido. It is about 5km north of the ferry terminal.
05 CAPE & CAMPING
Sai-no-Kawara & Inaho-misaki
賽の河原 / Inaho / Mid Apr-late Oct
At the northern end of Okushiri-to is the sacred coast Sai-no-Kawara on Inaho-misaki (稲穂岬). People visit mourning lost sailors or children, and they add stones to the countless cairns. There is a tranquil, free campsite by the beach, with toilets, water and a restaurant.
06 LOCAL HISTORY
Okushiri Tsunami Museum
奥尻島津波館 / Okushiri-to Tsunami-kan / 9am-5pm 15 Apr-15 Nov / ¥500 / Wi-Fi
At 10.17pm on 12 July 1993 the Southwest-off Hokkaido Earthquake struck this island with wave heights of a staggering 30m in the west coast and 198 lives were lost here. This museum tells the story in artefacts with 48 miniature models and a video presentation.
Opposite the museum, you will find the black stone memorial Jikusho (時空翔) on an embankment, the tsunami reached this height in Aonae.
On the cape Aonae-misaki (青苗岬) near the Tsunami Museum is the 16.7m-high landmark Tokuyo Memorial (徳洋記念碑) built in 1931 to commemorate the rescue of the British stranded ship. This was not destroyed in the 1993 Tsunami.
07 COAST & CAMPING
Okushiri West Coast
奥尻西海岸 / Yunohama
Okushiri-to’s west coast (called nishi-kaigan) is nice geared to DIY travelers, with sandy, gravel and rocky beaches. Muen-jima Kaigan (無縁島海岸) is a better place to swimming and camping, but there is no water and shower.
08 PARK & CAMPING
北追岬公園 / Yunohama / 24hrs May-Oct
Tucked away in the island’s western cape, this scenic park has eight sculptures created by the ‘samurai artist’ Nagare Masayuki (1923-2018) around the circumference footpath. There is a small campsite (May-Oct; Free) with a kitchen. The park is about 1km south of Kamuiwaki Onsen.
神威脇温泉 / 98 Yunohama / 9am-9pm / Closed 1st & 3rd Tue Nov-Mar, 31 Dec-2 Jan / ¥420
Okushiri’s only public onsen has an ocean-view bathroom on the 2nd floor with fresh hot water. There is also an alternative bathroom on the ground floor.
Discovering Okushiri-to by Municipal Bus
DURATION 7 HOURS | TIMING MAY – OCT
START: Okushiri Bus Center (Ferry Terminal)
↓ Municipal bus (9:40) to Kitaoi-misaki Koen (10:43)
08 Kitaoi-misaki Park
↓ 15min walk
09 Kamuiwaki Onsen
↓ Municipal bus (13:13) to Okushiri-to Tsunamikan (13:38)
06 Okushiri Tsunami Museum
↓ 3min walk
Aonae-misaki & Tokuyo Memorial Tower
↓ 15min walk
Aonae Fishing Port
↓ 2min walk
Aonae Yubinkyoku (Post Office)
↓ Municipal bus (15:44) to Yachi 1 (16:15) + A few minutes’ walk
↓ 10min walk
FINISH: Central Okushiri
FERRY: Heartland Ferry operates daily car ferries between Esashi and Okushiri (1 daily 16 Nov-30 Apr, 2 daily 1 May-15 Oct / 2hrs 20min). Ferry services are often halt in winter. Seasonal ferry services to Setana no longer operates.
AIR: Okushiri Airport (奥尻空港) is on the southwestern coast of the island (about 2km from Aonae). There is a daily flight from Hakodate (30min) and timed to meet the island’s local bus.
From the ferry terminal, buses run to Nonamae (野名前) via Sai-no-Kawara (賽の河原: 20min / ¥440), and Kamuiwaki (神威脇: 1hr / ¥1030) via Aonae (青苗: 40min / ¥620). Raise your hand to get on anywhere.