Momo-iwa Observatory Trail (桃岩展望台コース)
After the excellent lunch at Kafuka, we met up with our next host from Pension Uni at the ferry terminal. He would be giving us a lift to the starting point of the Momo-iwa Hiking Trail at Shiretoko (知床).
Persion Uni’s passenger van was marked with its own logo!
It’s about 10 minute drive to Shiretoko – not at all obvious the hiking trail starts here, if not for this map!
But soon we broke away from the buildings…
Looking back at the small settlement of Shiretoko.
Our first checkpoint would be the Motochi Lighthouse (元地灯台). It’s a gentle uphill route.
Looking back, this was supposed to be a great view of Mount Rishiri on the far side of the sea… but it’s in the clouds.
Motochi Lighthouse is about 2 km from the starting point. There’s a path leading right next to it, but almost overgrown with tall grass.
After some time, the clouds finally cleared and Mount Rishiri (利尻山) became visible!
Mount Rishiri’s rugged summit.
The trail was generally well-maintained, with fences on the side.
The big lump of rock to the right is the Momo-iwa (“Peach Rock”). That’s where we’re heading to…
Lots of beautiful views along the way… It took us 2 hours to cover 3 km up to this point as we kept stopping to take in the scenery and taking photos.
Full of flowers on the slope. Though the sky was getting a little dark…
The trail follows the grey wooden fences.
Mount Rishiri in the background.
Arrived at Momo-iwa Rock (the one on the right). It probably requires some imagination to see how it resembles a peach.
There’s also what’s known as the Cat Rock (猫岩) – the little rock in the sea near the middle of this photo. It’s a bit hard to tell from this distance.
The Momo-iwa Observation Deck (桃岩展望台).
From the observation deck it’s all downhill – it’s definitely less strenuous to start from the Shiretoko side like we did, as the climb there is very gentle. Though the down side going on our direction is Mount Rishiri is mostly to our back.
Pension Uni (ペンションう～に～)
Pension Uni is conveniently located in walkable distance from where the hiking trail ends. They gave us a map beforehand and it’s easy to find it – can’t miss the colour!
“Uni” is sea urchin in Japanese; as Rebun Island is well-known for sea urchin, this has to be the place to stay!
Indeed, this pension has also almost universally positive reviews. We already had some good initial impression, when soon after we placed our booking, they sent us a direct email asking about our travel plans; last night we also received some advice on today’s itinerary.
Anyway, after finishing the day’s hike, we were looking forward to dinner!
Their original dish, taking inspiration from their orange sea urchin logo (below). The sea urchin “spines” were made from pasta.
Home-made cheese cakes.
Although weather forecast was cloudy for the day, we were fortunate to have some sunshine during our hikes, a clear view of Mount Rishiri, and seeing plenty of flowers despite it’s already past peak season.