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Iced Sea and frozen fishing to bright flowering fields

Snow spreads across the landscape as frozen seas set ice adrift, then melt, to reveal fresh seas, pristine lakes and colourful fields of flowers.

Discover Abashiri

A warm welcome awaits in Abashiri, a beautiful area, bordered by the Sea of Okhotsk, four lakes and mountains. A bounty from land and the sea arrives in steaming bowls.

Large Icebreakers smash drift ice at high speeds ploughing through the frozen sea. While smaller boats use a drill to break it up for a closer look at the raw chunks of floating sea ice. On the Shiretoko Peninsula walk on drift ice, or ice fish for small Smelt. Cruise the coastal waters to encounter fin whales, common mink whales and harbour porpoises.

The Sea of Okhotsk is rich in biodiversity with whales, dolphins and other marine life drawn to its waters as they migrate between warm and cool habitats. Spring is best for whale watching, when huge fin whales, smaller minke whales and bottle-nosed Baird’s beaked whales are known to roam the waters. To see the antics of dolphins and porpoises, take a cruise during summer or autumn. An unforgettable sight to witness is the tail flick of impressive whales.

Cape Notoro protrudes toward the Sea of Okhotsk with a lone lighthouse on the tip. Admire the remarkable views of Lake Notoro, the coastline of Tokoro Town in the west, the Okhotsk Sea in the north and the Shiretoko Mountains in the east.

Towards Mt. Tento the Kando-no-Michi Viewpoint boasts incredible views of Shiretoko Mountains, the Sea of Okhotsk and Lake Tofutsu for an array of rural landscapes. Fields create a vivid palette with golden barley, fluttering white flecked potato, the deep greens of beet to a bright yellow of watercress.

The Okhotsk Ryu-hyo Museum recreates the arrival of drift ice and keeps some actual ice in a room kept at a temperature of -15°C. Learn about the mysterious sea creatures only seen in winter, and sea angels that live among the ice.

At Abashiri Prison Museum three buildings of the original the Meiji era prison are important cultural properties preserved to present the beauty of 100 year old buildings. Impressive Gates, Storehouses, Halls, and Huts are spread across site area, 3.5 times as large as Tokyo Dome. Five wooden one-storied houses radiate from the Central Guard House for a star effect. Become virtually immersed in hard labour at the Penological Museum as three screen projection feature images of how inmates built Central Road, which connects Abashiri to Sapporo.

Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples is a rare ethnology that covers northern people from Greenland in the east to Scandinavia A distinct hall replicates a cone-shaped tent prevalent in the northern region.

Abashiri City Historical Museum features items excavated from the Moyoro Shell Mound from the Bunka period. See local materials with a unique style, and other materials concerning the nature, fishing and other industries in the Abashiri region.

Ilga and Nipopo

See original wooden handicrafts feature a design of Ilga in Uilta language means a pattern, used as a family insignia in Japan. Also used to decorate a range of items such as pendants and  bracelets, straps available at gift shops in Abashiri.

In the language of the Sakhalin Ainu people, Ni Popo is a wooden doll carved to look like a small child. They act as cherished charms to protect health and well being.  Made from Pagoda trees only grown in cold regions, are hard and oils to present a smooth and shiny surface.  Prison inmates have produced these carved dolls since 1954 in hope of a quick release.

As a base for fishing it is the perfect place sample seasonal seafood and where a wide variety of marine products can be obtained. Local specialties include Zangi Donburi, a rice bowl topped with soy marinated salmon, fried to crispy perfection and the Abashiri Moyoro Pot of shellfish and vegetables in hot broth.

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