Roaming the capes of Rebunto
We spent our day hiking through field of lush green grasses, clinging to cliffs and hillsides of Rebun Island, and admiring the breath-taking scenerey. It was an amazing day and, despite the sometimes hairy weather, a wonderful experience. This may be an isolated, inhospitable, cold and distinctly fishy kind of place, but it’s awesome and well worth this visit.
We woke this morning to see grey skies outside our window, with strong winds and a steady drizzle making it look like a very bad day for hiking. We were assured the day was supposed to be getting better though so we headed off to breakfast, hopeful the rain would abate. Breakfast (included with our room) was full of interesting bits and pieces, including smoked fish, cooked kelp, miso soup, boiled rice, a fried egg, a small sausage, some daikon pickles and a couple of sour, salty umeboshi plums.
As we finished breakfast the day started to look better. I was still windy and overcast, but seemed a little better for hiking. We were going to do the 8-9 hour “Rebun Island Top-to-Bottom” hike (25km), but due to the weather decided to just do the “Roaming the Cape” hike (12km). The start of the hike is up at Cape Sukoton, the very Northern tip of Rebunto. We caught a local bus up there and were almost defeated before we started: as soon as we stepped off the bus the wind just about bowled us over. Up there, on the exposed tip of the penninsula, the wind gusts were up around 40km/hour. And man are the winds around here COLD – Siberian cold, in fact. But we persevered and as soon as we crested the hill and started walking down behind the chain of hills that forms the central spine of Rebunto, the wind died down and things got a wee bit more pleasant.
From Cape Sukoton the hiking path headed due South towards the next headland: Cape Gorota. Every time we crested a hill, or turned a corner, the views got better and better. Even with the constant wind, prevailing dampness and overcast skies, we were captivated.
We were often walking through knee-high grasses, wet from the morning’s rain; and slipping along the muddy paths. Overall though the paths are well maintained, well sign-posted and easy to follow. There are even toilets located at regular intervals along the hiking trail! Pretty impressive considering we’re on a tiny island in the middle of nowhere!
From Cape Gorota we cut East, across the hills towards the village of Hamanaka. Once in the village we joined back up with the main (only) road and walked the last couple of kilometres back to Ryokan Rebunso along the roadside. It was a great walk, but a very windy and wet one. Not exactly like the photos in the brochures, that’s for sure.
We survived our windy, cold, damp adventure relatively unscathed, though our shoes and socks were soaked through thanks to the wet grass. The socks we chucked in the dryer*, but to get our shoes dry(ish) Shane spent half an hour blow-drying them with a hair-dryer. Ahhhh the joys of travelling!
*Most Japanese hotels and guesthouses we’ve stayed in have at least one coin-operated washing machine and dryer for guest use available – very handy when you’re travelling with just the bare minimum of clothing.
Dinner was another feast of hairy crabs, giant prawns, sea urichin, wierd pickled seaweeds, boiled rice and raw octopus. Bits of it were delicious, other bits of it were interesting, and some bits were just plain challenging. Overall though, we’re really enjoying our time here at Ryokan Rebunso and are looking forward to doing a bit more hiking tomorrow before we catch the afternoon ferry across to Rishiri Island.