Rebun: Exploring Local Customs & Festivals

Rebun: Exploring Local Customs & Festivals

Welcome to Rebun Island

Rebun Island


Nestled in the Sea of Japan, Rebun Island is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Known for its stunning natural beauty, this remote island is a paradise for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. With its rugged cliffs, lush meadows, and pristine beaches, Rebun Island offers a unique experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Local Customs

The people of Rebun Island have a rich cultural heritage, and their customs and traditions are deeply rooted in the island's history. One of the most notable customs is the practice of seibetsu, which means "gender separation." In many public spaces, such as hot springs and bathhouses, men and women are segregated, adhering to this age-old tradition.

Another tradition on Rebun Island is the practice of honne and tatemae, which refers to the contrast between one's true feelings (honne) and the social facade they present (tatemae). This concept emphasizes the importance of harmony and avoiding conflict, and it is considered impolite to openly express negative emotions.


Rebun Island is known for its vibrant festivals, which showcase the island's cultural heritage and bring the community together. One of the most popular festivals is the Rebun Hana Matsuri, or Flower Festival. Held in early summer, the festival celebrates the island's stunning array of wildflowers. During the festival, the streets and parks are adorned with colorful displays, and traditional music and dance performances take place throughout the day.

Another significant event is the Rebun Shishimai Festival, where locals perform a lion dance to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck for the year ahead. The dancers wear elaborate lion costumes and perform intricate choreography accompanied by drumbeats and lively music.

Local Cuisine

Exploring Rebun Island wouldn't be complete without indulging in its delectable cuisine. Known for its abundance of seafood, the island offers a wide variety of fresh and flavorful dishes. Some local specialties include:

  • Uni (sea urchin) - Creamy and rich, uni is a delicacy on Rebun Island. It is often served in sushi or enjoyed fresh as sashimi.
  • Hotate (scallop) - Rebun Island is renowned for its plump and juicy scallops. Grilled or pan-fried, they make for a truly flavorful treat.
  • Hokke (Atka mackerel) - This local fish is a staple in Rebun Island's cuisine. It can be enjoyed grilled, simmered, or pickled, and its firm texture and mild flavor are always a delight.
  • Konbu (kelp) - Rebun Island is blessed with pristine waters, making it an ideal location for harvesting konbu. Used in various dishes, konbu adds depth and umami to the local cuisine.

Exploring Nature

Rebun Island is a paradise for nature enthusiasts, offering breathtaking landscapes and opportunities for exploration. One of the must-visit attractions is Rebun's iconic Mount Rebun. This mountain offers scenic hiking trails that wind through alpine meadows and provide panoramic views of the surrounding sea and neighboring Rishiri Island.

For those who prefer a leisurely stroll, the Rebun Flower Road is a must-see. This 8-kilometer-long road is lined with vibrant wildflowers, creating a picturesque setting perfect for a leisurely walk or a scenic bike ride.

The stunning coastline of Rebun Island is dotted with beautiful beaches, such as Habomai Beach and Kafuka Beach. These pristine sandy shores offer the perfect spot for relaxation, swimming, and picnicking while enjoying the tranquil ambiance.

Getting to Rebun Island

Rebun Island can be reached by taking a ferry from Wakkanai Port on the northern tip of Hokkaido. The ferry ride takes approximately 90 minutes, offering breathtaking views of the Sea of Japan along the way. It is advisable to check the ferry schedule in advance, as the frequency of ferries may vary depending on the season.

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