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Icy seas and flowering fields

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

Discover Abashiri

Venture out to Abashiri, a stunning area surrounded by the Sea of Okhotsk, lakes, and mountains, offering a warm and inviting atmosphere. Indulge in the bountiful harvest from the land and sea, served in steaming bowls that showcase the region’s culinary delights.

Witness the power of large icebreakers as they plough through the frozen sea, breaking the drift ice at high speeds. Smaller boats allow for a closer encounter with the raw chunks of floating sea ice, perfect for ice fishing for small smelt fish, or enjoying a unique walking experience. Embark on a coastal cruise and marvel at the presence of fin whales, common mink whales, and harbor porpoises. The Sea of Okhotsk boasts rich biodiversity, attracting an abundance of marine life. Spring is the ideal time for whale watching, with majestic fin whales, smaller minke whales, and bottle-nosed Baird’s beaked whales roaming the waters. Summer and autumn cruises offer the chance to witness playful dolphins and porpoises, as well as the awe-inspiring sight of whales flicking their tails.

Explore Cape Notoro, where a lone lighthouse stands as a beacon toward the Sea of Okhotsk. Take in the breathtaking views of Lake Notaro, the coastline of Tokoro Town, the Okhotsk Sea, and the majestic Shiretoko Mountains. At the Kando-no-Michi Viewpoint near Mt. Tento, soak in the incredible vistas of the Shiretoko Mountains, the Sea of Okhotsk, and Lake Tofutsu, surrounded by a vibrant rural landscape adorned with fields of golden barley, white-flecked potatoes, deep green beet, and bright yellow watercress.

Immerse yourself in the wonders of drift ice at the Okhotsk Ryu-hyo Museum, where you can experience the arrival of drift ice and even see actual ice kept at a chilling -15°C. Discover the mysteries of the sea creatures that inhabit the winter waters, including the enchanting sea angels.

Visit the Abashiri Prison Museum, where three Meiji-era prison buildings have been preserved as important cultural properties, showcasing the beauty of these century-old structures. Marvel at the impressive gates, storehouses, halls, and huts spread across the expansive site, offering a virtual immersion into the world of hard labor through captivating screen projections.

The Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples provides a rare ethnological experience, covering the cultures of northern peoples from Greenland to Scandinavia. Step into a distinct hall that replicates the cone-shaped tents prevalent in the northern regions.

Don’t miss the opportunity to see and acquire original wooden handicrafts featuring the Ilga design, a Uilta word meaning “pattern” and used as a family insignia in Japan. These exquisite pieces adorn various items such as pendants, bracelets, and straps, available at gift shops in Abashiri.

Discover the charm of Ni Popo, a wooden doll carved in the likeness of a small child, believed to bring protection and well-being. These cherished charms, made from Pagoda trees grown exclusively in cold regions, boast a smooth and shiny surface. Prison inmates have been crafting these carved dolls since 1954, hoping for a quick release.

Abashiri is not only a fishing paradise but also a culinary haven. Sample the seasonal seafood and explore the wide variety of marine products available. Treat your taste buds to local specialties such as Zangi Donburi, a rice bowl topped with soy-marinated salmon fried to crispy perfection, and the flavorful Abashiri Moyoro Pot, brimming with shellfish and vegetables in a steaming broth.

In Abashiri, you’ll experience a harmonious blend of natural wonders, cultural heritage, and delectable cuisine, creating an unforgettable journey filled with warmth and adventure.

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