Visit Cape Soya, Wakkanai

When you think of Hokkaido, the 2nd biggest island of Japan, you may think of Sapporo, Niseko or Hakodate, but few may think or heard of Wakkanai. And it’s understandable, as it’s not a high quoted touristic destination, but if you’re planning to do what others don’t, you may have the adventure of your lifetime.

Wakkanai in winter may just sound COLD, as it’s the Northernmost Prefecture of Japan, bordering Russia. But if you come all equipped, nothing can shadow you happiness.

Cape Soya Monument

Wakkanai is almost a synonym to Cape Soya, which is the Northernmost point of Japan. From here, you can look over Sakhalin, Russia, which is only 43 km away. On a clear day, you can clearly see the shape of the island and its beautiful mountains. The view is breathtaking and totally rewording the trip.

Apart from the monument marking “The Northernmost Point of Japan”, which is pretty small comparing to my expectations, there a few more statues and monuments nearby. The Statue of Rinzo Mamiya and the Soya-Misaki Song Monument are some of the nearby points to see, apart from the splendid view.

Cape Soya Park

Once you finish with the Cape Soya monuments area, lead your steps up on the hill, towards the Cape Soya Park. Starting from the base, where you can see a small shrine, more monument are waiting up on the hill. Are dedicated to different events and the majority of them come with English translations. They may not be so impressive, but the view over Cape Soya and Sakhalin is totally rewarding.

Cape Soya Town

Once you finish with the monuments and the park, I’m afraid there’s not much left to do in the area. One option is to walk the city from a side to another and back, while you wait for the public bus. You will barely see any people on the street, but it’s a great feeling having the entire city to yourself. There are beautiful views all around and most important, silence and nature.


If you rely on public transportation, you have to well organise this trip. There are only 4 buses a day, so chose wisely according to the time you need. From Wakkanai bus terminal (in front of the JR Wakkanai Station), take the bus from stop nr.1 at 9.39am / 13.20pm / 16.12pm or 19.30pm. To come back, the busses are scheduled for 7.21am / 8.44am / 11.14am and 14.55pm. The trip takes 50 minutes one way and the tickets must be purchased in advanced from the bus terminal.

In principle, for a day trip you have the options to leave at 9.39am and come back even at 11.14am or 14.55pm. If you chose the 1st option, the time may not be enough if you take it easy. But if you chose the 2nd option, you will end up having too much spare time. Bare in mind there are no restaurants open during winter, and there is only one shop near the bus stop and another small one ~20 min away.

Wakkanai Onsen Dome

Once you finish with the most iconic destination in Wakkanai, Cape Soya, come back to the city. The most rewarding way to finish the day is bathing into the Northernmost onsen of Japan, at Wakkanai onsen Dome.


Busses are available from ~7am till ~9pm, from platform 2 in front of JR Wakkanai station. It takes about 20 minutes one way and the tickets can be purchased on the bus. For a better offer, purchase a combo ticket, return bus and onsen entrance, from the bus center.

Japan Cup 2023 – Dog sleding Race Competition

The cherry on the cake for this trip was definitely Japan’s Dog Sledding Race Competition. A first time to myself, it was a great event with an excelent organisation behind. In 2023 it was finally held after 4 years of pandemic, so it was even more rewarding and exciting to finally see life coming back to normal. The event came with lots of good vibes, despite the cruel cold on Sunday. Apart from the races themselves, canine beauty contests and winter snow activities took place, creating a magical winter wonderland.

Winter activities

A big thank you to the organizers, who let me experience the snowmobile without a prior reservation. Japan is a great place especially to its carrying people, and in Wakkanai was no exception.

Birds Observatory

And another big thank you to the birds observatory cafe, to provide a cosy and warm place to visitors. Without you, we couldn’t have made it through the entire event in such harsh and cold conditions.


Normally, there’s no public transportation that takes you to the birds observatory, where the dog’s competition is happening. But the good part is that during the event there is a way. You have to take a bus from the JR Wakkanai station, platform 3, at 8:08am / 10.24am / 11.36am / 12.23am till the Soya Fureai Park. From there, a free shuttle bus is available to take you to the event. For the way back, catch one of the return busses from the park at 10.39am / 11.57am / 12:38am / 14:03am. The shuttle bus is sync with the town bus, picking you up with ~15 min ahead of the time schedule.

The only disadvantage is that you won’t be able to catch the end of the competition if the event gets delayed, as there are no later busses. But in the end, still better than nothing!

The end!

Well, that’s it from my side. I hope you enjoyed the article and one day you’ll visit Cape Soya, Wakkanai by yourself. Meanwhile, get inspired from more articles across Japan and not only, here.

A like or a comment are highly appreciated. And don’t forget to subscribe to be the first one reading the next article!

One thought on “Visit Cape Soya, Wakkanai

Comments are closed.