Teuri and Yagishiri Islands Backpacking

天売島・焼尻島 | Ehanke-sir / Teure

Posted on Jun 18, 2024

Posted on Jun 18, 2024

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2 days





Highest point



Best season icon (Hokkaido Wilds)

Best season





Teuri and Yagishiri Islands sit off the north-western coast of Hokkaido and offer an offshore island get-away suited especially to those keen on bird watching. There are eight species of seabird that travel here annually in spring. The local human population is vastly outnumbered by the hundreds of thousands of birds that return to nest every year. Conserving the environment to support these birds is clearly important to the locals, so rules abound to protect the birds and their safe spaces. The best way to see and appreciate the birds is to join at least one short guided tour during your time on the islands.

We visited this route on May 05, 2024


Route Map

Need to know details


Teuri and Yagishiri Islands are a pair of islands, about 4km apart, located about 20km off the Japan Sea coast in northern Hokkaido, about halfway between Sapporo and Wakkanai. They can be accessed by ferry from the Haboro Town ferry terminal (location). Haboro Town is about a three-hour drive north from Sapporo City.

General notes

Teuri Island is where all the tours and breeding colonies are located. Yagishiri shares the same waters so many of the seabirds can be glimpsed in the water here also. Both islands also support a healthy song-bird population in their inner forests which are best appreciated on foot with binoculars in hand.

Eating out options on the islands are limited and hours irregular, so best to pack your food supplies in. There are no convenience stores but there are a couple of small supply shops on both islands where you can buy limited fresh fruit, vege and non-perishable food items.

Both islands have bicycle rentals available from the port, with traditional mama charies (shopping basket bicycles) and electric bicycles to choose from.

  • Accommodation: As of May 2024, there are no campgrounds on Teuri Island. The nearest is the beautiful Shirahama Campground 白浜野営場 on Yagishiri Island (here), about 1.3km walk from the Yagishiri ferry terminal (here). The campground is on a small hill beside a babbling brook overlooking the one beach that is touted as a swimming beach, plenty of interesting rock pools here to investigate. The campground has a running water, sinks, flush toilets and even changing rooms. There are also several local guesthouse and ryokan inn options on Teuri Island and Yagishiri Island, many of these would provide cooked meals and interaction with locals.
Route Timing

We recommend at least one day on each island.


Here’s a quick two-day Teuri and Yagishiri Islands backpacking/walking itinerary. See the Route Notes at the end of the post for more details about what we did.

Day 1 | 8am fast ferry from Haboro, arrive Teuri 9am, walk 5mins to Umi no Uchukan. Register for tours & pay fees, 9:30-12:00 tour around island by car. 12:00-13:20 lunch (packed lunch outside Umi no Uchukan or adjacent seafood eatery), 13:30-15:00 boat tour. 15:50 ferry from Teuri, arrive Yagishiri 16:15, 45 min coastal walk to campground, set up camp.

Day 2 | Cook own breakfast at campground, explore Shirahama beach. One hour leisurely stroll back to cycle rental Umehara, via Yagishiri Island’s southeasterly forests. Rent cycles, cycle around island stopping at view points, lunch at campground, nap, return to port for 16:25 ferry, arrive to Haboro 17:25.


Public transport:

Teuri and Yagishiri Islands are accessible by ferry from Haboro Ferry Terminal (location) in Haboro Town (羽幌町). Haboro is best accessed by bus from either Sapporo City, Asahikawa, or Wakkanai. See Google Maps for public transport options to and from Haboro. There are two types of ferries, so here are the details (for costs including bicycles, see the Teuri/Yagishiri Cycle Tour Route Guide here). There are two types of ferries from Haboro to the islands –  a fast ferry and a slow ferry. The timetable is a mess of different times for different times of the year (see it here). Tickets have to be bought per section. There are no return discount tickets. There’s no direct ferry to Teuri Island. They all go via Yagishiri.

By car: 

There is ample parking at the Haboro Ferry Terminal (location). It is possible to take vehicles on the slow ferry.



Physical maps
GSI Topo Map: Yagishirito (焼尻島) – map no. NL-54-18-10-3

NOTE: The GSI 1/25000 topo map(s) above can be purchased for 350yen each from Kinokuniya bookstore next to Sapporo Station or online (in Japanese).

route safety

Teuri and Yagishiri Islands will likely be cooler and winder than in centers like Sapporo and Asahikawa. Make sure to pack plenty of layering options.

Weather forecast

Windy.com weather forecast for Teuri and Yagishiri Islands

Onsen nearby

No public onsen or sento facilities exist on Teuri Island or Yagishiri Island. For an onsen close to the Haboro ferry terminal, head to the Haboro Onsen Sunset Plaza Hotel はぼろ温泉サンセットプラザ (location, 550yen). It’s about 900m inland from the ferry terminal. It has an outdoor pool, sauna, cold plunge pool, and several other inside hot pools. There’s a restaurant attached. The onsen is also a michi-no-eki with a large parking area and 24-hr public toilets. If you’re travelling by car, another (arguably better) option only 10 minutes drive south from Haboro is the Tomamae Onsen Fuwatto とままえ温泉ふわっと (location, 500yen). The views of the sea from the onsen are great, there’s an attached restaurant, and a couple of campground options right next to the onsen.

Guide Options

If you’d like to hike this route and/or explore other hikes in the central Hokkaido area together with a local certified guide, get in touch with Yasuko Kikuchi. Born and raised in Hokkaido, she’s a JMGA-certified guide now based in Sapporo. Her outdoor experience is broad and worldwide, having worked as a Canadian Ski Patrol member, and has sumitted a number of 6,000m+ peaks around the world. She speaks good English. In addition to Yasuko, also see a full list of English-speaking Hokkaido Mountain Guides Association (HMGA) guides on the HMGA website here

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Route Trip Notes

Our 2024 Golden week choices had echoes of 2018 within them. We had hoped to do a final camp and ski tour at Nakadake onsen at the foot of Asahidake with Timba and Roo, however forecasts of ferocious winds scuppered those plans and we quickly changed tact convincing our friends that it was prime season for a tour of the bird watching paradise islands Teuri and Yagishiri.

In 2018, we took our folding bicycles and camped on Teuri Island, however times have changed and it is no longer possible to camp on Teuri Island, however since we had not camped on Yagishiri Island before we were happy to have this decision made for us. Since we were already north of Sapporo, we decided to make it a backpacking tour to avoid wasting time returning to Sapporo to get our bicycles.

The winds were still strong however, and the afternoon ferry we had hoped to catch did not sail. The seas were looking huge, so I was secretly thankful to stay on land until the seas calmed. The auto campground on the hill at Tomamae with its adjacent onsen treated us with a spectacular sunset over the islands as we cooked up dinner before retreating to the warmth of our sleeping bags, it was 2 degrees overnight with additional wind chill making it feel all rather cold.

The highlights of our 2018 trip to Teuri island were two bird watching tours, one in the evening to see the rhinoceros auklet return to feed their nesting partners (U00005), and a sunrise boat tour (U00001) to see the spectacled guillemot and common murre. You can see all the tours here (numbered U00000X).

 Teuri Island Nature Live appears to operate all the tours on the island, if you are lucky you’ll have long time local and photographer Takaki Terasawa as your guide (most likely on the sunrise/sunset boat tours).

However, since we had decided to camp at Yagishiri, these tours would not be possible due to the ferry schedule. The first ferry in the morning to Teuri Island arrived just after 9am, so we decided to join a 9:30 driving tour of the island visiting all the major colonies and look-outs (U00007).

Afterwards, we enjoyed our packed lunch in the sunshine at the outdoor tables with bird song, finished off with hot drinks bought from the café there. Eager to see the island and birds up close from the water, we joined a 13:30 boat tour to circumnavigate the island while observing birds and seals (U00003). The offshore islands of Hokkaido are renowned for being windy, and so it was not surprising that our boat tour couldn’t complete the full circuit due to the northern winds. 

The bonus of the day time tours over the sunrise or sunset was that we had the warmth of the sun, it was still plenty cold though enough to wear my winter down jacket to keep cosy. The explanations on the tours were all in Japanese, however I think the guides would also speak English if you asked them. The waters around the island were a deep blue colour and the cliffs where the birds nest were really impressive viewed from the water.

If you don’t have your own binoculars, I highly recommend paying the extra 500 yen to rent some from the tour company. Tours are based out of the Umi no Uchukan which is a 5-minute walk from the ferry terminal.

Tours completed we walked back to the ferry terminal and caught the ferry back to Yagishiri island and walked about 20-30 minutes to the campground. There were several other tents already set up but still plenty of space for us to find our own area. The campground was lovely, with well maintained and clean facilities. The beach is a short walk from the campground.

The night sky has amazing stars on a clear night. Latham’s snipe was croaking and buzzing above the campground in the evening and early morning with territorial flying displays making zooming sounds as they plummeted with the tail fanned out. Apparently, Latham’s snipe/Japanese snipe spend the winters in Australia and return every spring to Hokkaido to breed! We also spotted many small songbirds around campground and nearby forest.

In the morning, we walked back to the port via the inland forest paths (entry is via the road leading inland from the campground) enjoying seeing flowers, birds and Japanese yew trees stunted by the wind.

We hired some bicycles from the port (Bicycle rental Umehara) and then cycled around the island to have lunch and a nap (holiday vibes) at the campground before packing all our gear onto the bikes and cycling back to the port.

I was very happy to have chosen the electric bike option for the hills, the wind and packing my gear onto its sturdy rack!

We found the famous sheep of the island on the ride back and stopped to admire the lambs that were out in the front field.

Returning the bikes, we caught the ferry back to the Haboro where we enjoyed a long awaited wash and bath at Haboro Sunset Plaza followed by dinner at the restaurant there before camping out in the van.

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Teuri and Yagishiri Islands Backpacking Difficulty Rating





Vertical Gain



Time ascending















GRADES range from A (very difficult) to D (easy). Hazards include exposure to avalanche and fall risk. More details here. Rating rubric adapted from Hokkaido Yukiyama Guidebook 北海道雪山ガイド.