Hokkaido Sea Kayaking Documentation Project (2022-2024)

Posted on Jan 12, 2022
43 0
Posted on Jan 12, 2022
43 0
Sapporo City, Japan: HokkaidoWilds.org, a website providing detailed Hokkaido outdoor information in English, has announced they will document and publish nearly 20 Hokkaido sea kayaking routes between May 2022 and October 2024. They're calling it their Hokkaido Sea Kayaking Documentation Project. Since its establishment in 2018, HokkaidoWilds.org has published more than 300 Hokkaido summer mountaineering routes, canoe routes (rivers and lakes), bicycle touring routes, and ski mountaineering routes. In this vein, we plan to provide highly accurate English-language sea kayaking maps, detailed route information, and high-quality photographs of Hokkaido's wild coastal areas. (日本語はこちら)

This documentation project is aimed at English speakers interested in everything the Hokkaido outdoors offers, particularly independent travellers and Japan resident English-speaking sea kayakers. By communicating Hokkaido’s sea kayaking routes in English, the project aims to convey Hokkaido’s beautiful coastal scenery and ecology to English speakers in Japan and abroad, increase the appeal of Hokkaido’s green season adventure tourism, and increase the number of adventure travelers choosing Hokkaido as a destination.

PDF press release: English | Japanese

Tentative routes planned

Other routes will be added as time goes on. Level judgements assume good weather, basic sea kayak paddling skills (self-rescue, kayak handling skills, roll ability, group rescue skills etc) as well as basic understanding of sea conditions.

No. Route Distance Time Level
1 Otamoi-kaigan Coast 9km 3hrs Beginner
2 Cape Raiden-misaki 4km 1hr Beginner
3 Rishiri-jima (Peshi-misaki) 2km 1hr Beginner
4 Shiretoko Peninsula - Shiretoko Shizen-mura Campground to Otoko-no-namida Falls 6km 2hr Beginner
5 Kamui-misaki 4km 1hr Intermediate
6 Notsuke Peninsula 20km 1 day Intermediate
7 Shioya-kaigan Coast (Otaru to Ranshima Beach) 20km 4.5hr Intermediate
8 Cape Shakotan-misaki (Bikuni to Irikamura) 14km 3.5hr Intermediate
9 Iwabe-kaigan Coast (Fukushima-cho Iwabe to Shiriuchi-cho Kotai-ishi) 10km 3.5hr Intermediate
10 Hakodate-yama (Hakodate-shi Sumiyoshi to Irifune) 8km 3hrs Intermediate
11 Chikyu-misaki 7km 2.5hr Intermediate
12 Okushiri Island (Cape Inaho-misaki to Aonae beach) 38km 2 days Intermediate
13 Muroran-kaigan (Etomo to Itanki Beach) 15km 3.5hrs Advanced
14 Teuri-jima circumnavigation 12km 5hrs Advanced
15 Okushiri-jima circumnavigation 12km 5hrs Advanced
16 Cape Erimo-misaki (Toyo port to Erimo-misaki Kita-no-hama) 8km 3hrs Advanced
17 Rebun-jima (Motochi port to Funadomari beach) 28km 2 days Advanced
18 Shiretoko Peninsula - Full circuit (Aidomari to Utoro) 62km 5 days Expert

Characteristics of the planned HokkaidoWilds.org sea kayaking database

  • GPX and KML route files for use in GPS navigation apps
  • Printable PDF topographic maps with English place names (created by HokkaidoWilds.org based on Japan government base map data)
  • Information on launching and landing sites and public transportation
  • Explanation of fishing ports and other ordinances related to sea kayaking
  • Route search based on your current location
  • Detailed route directions with photos
  • Information on hot springs near the route
  • Safety information and frequently asked questions
  • Recommended local sea kayaking guides for each route

Ainu place names

HokkaidoWilds.org strives to write the names of the places we cover (mountains, rivers, lakes, capes, etc.) in three languages: English, Japanese, and Ainu. HokkaidoWilds.org supports the Ainu people as a historical and contemporary cultural heritage.

Sea kayak route documentation team

Rob Thomson (New Zealand) – Rob is a New Zealander, and initiallyco- founded HokkaidoWilds.org as a space on the web for his Hokkaido adventure stories, originally posted on his personal travel blog 14degrees.org. He still holds the Guinness World Record for the Longest Journey by Skateboard (12,159km). He also previously cycled 12,000km from Japan to Switzerland. He holds a Ph.D. in Behavioral Science, and currently works at Hokusei Gakuen University in Sapporo City as an assistant professor in media and communications (specializing in Internet psychology). Swift Water Rescue Technician (SRT1).

Haidee Thomson (New Zealand) – Haidee is co-founder of HokkaidoWilds.org. She’s a Kiwi, and has lived in Hokkaido for over10 years, having lived and worked in Sapporo, Niseko, Muroran, and Chitose City. Keen on the outdoors and birdwatching, Haidee planned most of the multi-day cycle touring routes on The Hokkaido Wilds, including campgrounds, daily distances, and onsen hotsprings. Haidee is an assistant professor of applied linguistics at Hokusei University Junior College. Swift Water Rescue Technician (SRT1).

Chris Auld (New Zealand/UK) – Chris is a data scientist with Microsoft Asia, but he’s also originally from New Zealand. As a whitewater kayaker, mountain biker and skier with a cabin in Hokkaido he’s keen to share both high adventure and family fun trips on Hokkaido Wilds. Chris is a qualified ski guide, avalanche and whitewater rescue technician, outdoor first-aider.

Greg and Mari (Canada and Japan) – Greg and Mari are one of the most prolific Canadian canoeing couples in Hokkaido, with a host of multi-day canoe trips under their belt. Greg has a slew of previous paddling guiding experience.

HokkaidoWilds.org offline

We’re increasingly working alongside local Hokkaido tourism promotion agencies, NPOs and the Japan Ministry of Environment to further Hokkaido English-language outdoor adventure promotion and education. In the past three years, HokkaidoWilds.org team members have presented keynote addresses and presentations at a number of events inside Japan and overseas.

These include an invited keynote address at a Japan Ministry of Environment national park symposium, FOSS4G Hokkaido conference and Montbell’s Sea to Summit event, a workshop at the popular Hokkaido Outdoor Forum, and snow safety lectures in Singapore. Hokkaido Wilds won two national awards at the 2019 Geo Contest, hosted by the Japan Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism in Tokyo in November 2019, for our printable A4 topographical maps. At the 2021 Geo Activity Contest we won grand prize for our UTM grid maps.

About HokkaidoWilds.org

HokkaidoWilds.org is a non-profit website that exists to inspire people to explore and enjoy Hokkaido and the surrounding areas’ extraordinary outdoors by ski, bicycle, foot and canoe in an informed and responsible way. In addition to detailed written route guides with great photography, we also provide GPS route files, custom English-language GeoPDF topographical maps (using Japan government map data), and safety notes.


Robert Thomson (HokkaidoWilds.org Co-Founder)
TEL: 080-4228-6132
Email: rob@hokkaidowilds.org
Instargram: @rob_tomo

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Filter by location

About Filters

REGION: The general mountain/geographical region the route is in.

BEST MONTH(S): Time of year a route is suited to visiting. Some pop all season, some are more limited.

DIFFICULTY: How strenuous a route is, and how technical it is. Full details here.

FREERIDE/SKITOUR: Very subjective, but is a route more-of-a-walk-than-a-ski or the other way around? Some routes are all about the screaming downhill (freeride), some are more about the hunt for a peak or nice forest (ski-tour). Some are in between. 

MAIN ASPECT: Which cardinal direction the primary consequential slope is facing, that you might encounter on the route. More details here.

ROUTE TAGS: An eclectic picking of other categories that routes might belong to.

SEARCH BY LOCATION: You can find routes near your current location – just click on the crosshairs (). You may need to give permission to HokkaidoWilds.org to know your GPS location (don’t worry, we won’t track you). Or, type in a destination, such as Niseko or Sapporo or Asahikawa etc.

Please let us know how we can make it easier to narrow down your search. Contact Rob at rob@hokkaidowilds.org with your suggestions.

Hokkaido Sea Kayaking Documentation Project (2022-2024) 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.