Sarobetsu Wetlands


Part of Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park, these marshlands are 40km southwest of Wakkanai. Fields of wild flowers bloom here in summer, which can be appreciated from boardwalks built over the marsh. Infrequent trains on the JR Sōya line run between Wakkanai and Toyotomi (futsū ¥930, 50 minutes; tokkyū ¥1550, 40 minutes). Buses (¥380, nine minutes) run from JR Toyotomi Station to the Sarobetsu Wetlands Centre at 8.30am, 1.25pm and 2.50pm (June to September) and at 9.15am and 1.50pm (October to May).

There are also good views of Rishiri-zan from here – especially in winter, when eagles fly overhead and you can rent snowshoes from the visitors centre (¥500) to walk out over the snow pack.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Hokkaidō attractions

1. Minato-no-yu Onsen


Wakkanai's best public onsen has outdoor baths that look over the harbour, and funky boat-shaped stairs for those who opt out of taking the elevator.

2. Fukukō-ichiba

21.02 MILES

About a 10-minute walk south of JR Wakkanai Station, this complex has restaurants, souvenir shops and the Minato-no-yu Onsen. It's designed to evoke the…

3. Northern Breakwater Dome

21.83 MILES

Fans of kitsch will want to walk a few minutes north of the ferry terminal to see Wakkanai's breakwater, built in 1936 to look like a straightened version…

4. Noshappu-misaki

23.96 MILES

The second most northern point in mainland Japan, this cape is a pleasant walk (45 minutes) or bike ride (6km, 20 minutes) north of town. On the way, look…