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Rebun-to (Rebun Island) Review

Created by an upward thrust of Earth's crust, Rebun-to is theolder of the two main islands in the Sea of Japan. Many travelers flock here when they're bored of package tours, and summer on Rebun is a year's worth of energy squeezed into three months. Along the east coast are numerous villages anchoring fleets of fishing boats just offshore; prickly uni sea urchins are spotted through bottomless boxes held over the side of the boat and then raked in. On the west coast, civilization holds on sheltered from relentless winter winds.

Visible on a hiking trail that takes about eight hours to navigate. Rebun has cliffs that stave off the surging waters of the Sea of Japan. Inland, more than 300 species of wildflowers blanket the mountain meadows—by mid-June in such profusion that each step seems to crush a dozen of the delicate blossoms. Don't tread on the white-pointed usuyuki-so (roughly meaning "dusting of snow"), found only on Rebun. Views of Sakhalin at the northernmost point available on clear days.

Updated: 09-20-2013

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