In eastern Hokkaido, the city of Abashiri and the areas around it are visited by many for its drift ice. Abashiri is well-known as a robust producer of crab, salmon, scallops and other seafood, as well as vegetables like potatoes and onions. You can sample the freshest fish and vegetables at local restaurants and sushi places.
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Abashiri Drift Ice (Ryuhyo)
Abashiri faces out onto the Okhotsk Sea, and every year, drift ice arrives on its coastline from the far-off Arctic Ocean. While drift ice, can be observed along the entire Sea of Okhotsk coast from Wakkanai to the Shiretoko Peninsula, it gets thickest around Abashiri. The best way to see the drift ice is from the Aurora Sightseeing Boats. The boat rides take about an hour. The ship interior consists of two floors and an observation deck, and it also has shops and a coffee lounge so you can stay warm during your time onboard. However, the observation deck is incredibly cold, so you’ll need to have a scarf, gloves and other protection against the elements. Activities: Drift ice viewing Fee: JPY 3500 Time required: Minimum 1 hour
Source: ©️ Okhotsk Ryu-hyo Museum
Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum
The Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum is a tourist spot themed around the drift ice. Other than the interesting exhibits, a real highlight is the overwhelming 360-degree panorama view of Abashiri’s mountains and lakes, as well as the Okhotsk Sea, from the observation deck. The underground level is themed around ice floes and ocean creatures. The Drift Ice Fantasy Theater, an Okhotsk Sea nature piece shown on five screens, contains no narration, so you can enjoy just the sounds and the video.
Activities: Museum visit Fee: JPY 770 Time required: Minimum 40 minutes
Source: ©️ Abashiri Prison Museum
Abashiri Prison Museum
Abashiri Prison was constructed in the 1890s to hold more than one thousand dangerous criminals. The building and the central guard post are known as the oldest wooden large-scale correctional facilities in the world. The Abashiri Prison Museum illustrates the daily life of prisoners and exhibits more than a dozen buildings and structures of the old prison, including the main prison building with its five radially constructed wings, a law court, bathhouse and a punishment chamber.
Activities: Museum visit Fee: JPY 1100 Time required: Minimum 40 minutes
Source: ©️ Wikipedia
Museum of Northern Peoples
Opened in 1991, this museum is dedicated to the various peoples of the North, across Eurasia and the Americas, the collection includes items relating to the Sámi, Nanai, and Northwest Coast Indians, as well as the more local Okhotsk culture and Ainu. It introduces the culture and traditional everyday life of the peoples inhabiting the northern, subarctic regions of the globe. The exhibits include clothing, food, transport, dwellings and the spiritual world with many exhibits, illustrating the differences and many similarities between the various peoples.
Activities: Museum visit Fee: JPY 550 Time required: Minimum 40 minutes
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Shiretoko National Park is one of Japan’s most beautiful and unspoiled national parks. No roads lead further than about three fourths up the peninsula, and the northern tip can only be viewed from boats or be reached on multi-day trekking tours. The peninsula is home to a variety of wildlife, including brown bears, deer and foxes. In 2005, Shiretoko was added to the list of world heritage sites for the irreplaceable value of the peninsula’s ecosystem and biodiversity.