Get the most out of winter drift ice
At the Sea of Okhotsk

Sightseeing in winter in East Hokkaido is synonymous with the pure white drift ice of the Sea of Okhotsk. We propose a trip in which you can get the most out of the drift ice not just by looking at it, but also by touching, walking on and experiencing the drift ice up-close from a variety of angles.

Premium winter sightseeing in Okhotsk Drift Ice Cruise

Up-close with an ice blue world Abashiri drift ice sightseeing and icebreaker ship Aurora/Aurora 2

Enjoy a drift ice cruise centered around Abashiri while the ship breaks through the ice. We recommend taking in a view to the horizon on the Observation Deck, or getting a more up-close view of the drift ice from the Side Deck on the first floor.

Address:
Minami 3 jou Higashi 4-5-1, Abashiri, Hokkaido (inside Michinoeki Ryuhyo Kaidou Abashiri)
Fee (reservation required):
Adults 3,300 yen; Elementary school children 1,650 yen (switches to Cape of Notoro cruise if there is no drift ice: Adults 2,500 yen; Elementary school children 1,250 yen)
Operating period:
January 20 to April 3, 2016
Operating times:
9AM to 3:30PM (depending on the period)
Duration:
Approx. 1 hour
Closed:
Open throughout (suspended during storms)
TEL:
0152-43-6000 (Doutou Kanko Kaihatsu)

Breaking blocks of ice with a screw on a full-impact boat trip Drift Ice Breaker Garinko-go II

This is a full-impact drift ice cruise where the boat moves ahead while breaking apart the blocks of ice with a large screw at the front. The cruise starts and finishes at Monbetsu. The February-only sunrise/sunset cruise, in which the ice is bathed in orange light, is an essential sight.

Address:
1 Kaiyokoen, Monbetsu, Hokkaido (inside Monbetsu Kaiyou Kouryu-kan)
Fee (reservation required):
Adults 3,000yen; Children 1,500 yen (if there is no drift ice: Adults 2,500 yen; Children 1,250 yen)
Operating period:
January 10 to March 31, 2016
Operating times:
6AM to 4:10PM (depending on the season)
Duration:
Approx. 1 hour
Closed:
Open throughout the season (may close during storms)
TEL:
0158-24-8000 (Okhotsk Garinko Tower)

See wild animals on the drift ice Shiretoko Nature Cruise Evergreen

In the Rausu area, where there is a lower density of drift ice, the main attraction is a cruise on a small boat where you can get close to the wild animals of the Shiretoko World Natural Heritage site. In addition to seeing white-tailed eagles and Stellar’s sea eagles resting on the ice, you might be lucky enough to have a deeply-moving encounter with an earless seal.

Address:
27-1 Honcho, Rausu, Menashi, Hokkaido
Fee (reservation required):
Drift ice & bird watching A: Adults 4,000 yen; Children 2,000yen/B: Adults 8,000 yen; Children 4,000 yen
Operating period:
Early January to March, 2016
Operating times:
30 minutes to 1 hour before sunrise, 9AM and 1PM
Duration:
Drift ice & bird watching A: Approx. 1 hour/B: Approx. 2 hours
Closed:
Open throughout the season (may close during storms)
TEL:
0153-87-4001 (Shiretoko Nature Cruise)

When can you see drift ice?

The period in which drift ice can be seen on the coast of Hokkaido varies each year. Roughly speaking, the season is between the end of January and the end of March, and the peak period is likely to be around the middle of February. Even during the season, the drift moves daily due to tidal current and the wind, so we recommend confirming just before visiting.

First and last days of drift ice
  Monbetsu Abashiri Rausu
First day (2015) Jan. 16 Jan. 16 ×
First day (average) Jan. 28 Jan. 24 Feb. 7
Last day (2015) Mar. 15 Mar. 7 ×
Last day (average) Mar. 28 Apr. 1 Apr. 5

Drift ice looks cool and tastes delicious

In the drift ice towns of Abashiri and Kitami, there are various famous drift ice foods and so much more, so please take a look.

Planet of Blue
BEER & SCOTCH BAR THE EARTH

Original cocktails with actual drift ice cubes

Address:
Floor 1, No.2 Tsukasa Building, Minami 3 jou Nishi, Abashiri, Hokkaido
Fee:
1,000 yen
Hours:
7PM to 3AM (until 12AM on national holidays)
Closed:
Periodically
TEL:
0152-43-5939

Drift Ice Curry
Michinoeki Ryuhyo Kaidou Abashiri

This curry recreates the world of drift ice using natural colorings from spices, etc.

Address:
4-5-1 Minami 3 Jou Higashi, Abashiri, Hokkaido
Fee:
1,150 yen(takeaway retort pouch 648 yen)
Hours:
9AM to 6:30 PM (dining corner open from 11AM to 4:30PM)
Closed:
N/A
TEL:
0152-67-5007

Enjoy the miracles of nature with your entire body! Drift Ice Activities

Walk on the drift ice, and float in the sea in the cracks between the ice Drift Ice Walking

Put on a special dry suit and go out onto the drift ice. This is a fun walking activity on the ice-covered Sea of Okhotsk. The dry suits also float, so you can float in the sea in the cracks between the ice.

Shiretoko Naturalist`s Association SHINRA Drift Ice Walk

Address:
Utoro Higashi 284, Shari, Hokkaido
Fee (reservation required):
Adults 5,100 yen; Elementary school students 2,600 yen
Operating period:
Early February to end of March, 2016 (depending on the condition of the ice)
Operating times:
6:30AM to 3:15PM
Duration:
Approx.1.5 hours
Requirements:
Elementary school age or older (height of 130cm or more)
Closed:
Open throughout the season (closed during storms and when the movement of the drift ice is dangerous)
TEL:
0152-22-5522

A magical extreme activity Drift Ice Diving

Diving into the drift ice sea is an extreme wintertime activity in Hokkaido. The magical ice blue colors from the sunlight will amaze you. If the timing is right, you can see a clione, which is also known as a drift ice angel.
*For intermediate level divers and above. Recommended for persons accustomed to use dry suits.

Shiretoko Diving

Address:
50 Azabucho, Rausu, Menashi, Hokkaido
Fee (reservation required):
19,440 yen
Operating period:
February to April (depending on the situation of the drift ice; please inquire)
Duration:
2.5 to 3 hours
TEL:
0153-88-2909

Luxurious vehicles and hot springs Enjoy Drift Ice in Comfort and Elegance

Travel calmly along the Sea of Okhotsk Ryuhyo Norokko

This winter-only tourist train runs slowly along the Sea of Okhotsk between JR Abashiri Station and JR Shiretoko-Shari Station. You can enjoy the emotional view of the drift ice from a retro carriage heated by a stove.

Fee:
840 yen (between Abashiri Station and Shiretoko-Shari Station)
Operating period:
January 30 to February 28, 2016 (provisional)
Frequency:
Two round trips per day
Duration:
Approx. 1 hour 20 minutes (between Abashiri Station and Shiretoko-Shari Station)
TEL:
0152-23-2634 (JR Shiretoko-Shari Station)

Dynamic scenery from the sky Abashiri Drift Ice Helicopter Tourist Flight

This is a dynamic activity where you will see the drift ice on a short helicopter ride. You can choose any of three courses, lasting from three minutes through to a round trip of 12 minutes.

HELI-SYS Hokusei

Address:
Mokoto Kaigan-dori 3-4, Abashiri, Hokkaido (in Abashiri Fish Market)
Fee:
: 12 y.o. and up from 5,000 yen; 3 y.o. to 11 y.o. from 4,500 yen
Operating period:
February 1 to the middle of March, 2016 (provisional)
Operating hours:
9:30AM to 4PM
Duration:
Cape Notoro
Course:
Approx. 12 minutes; Okhotsk Course: Approx. 6 minutes; Drift ice enjoyment course: Approx. 3 minutes
Closed:
Open throughout the season (may be cancelled during storms)
TEL:
090-5813-0699(Mobile phone number for reservations and inquiries)

Enjoy the beautiful winter scene from a hot spring Shiretoko Grand Hotel Kitakobushi

From “Oh-unabara,” a large bath from which you can see the Sea of Okhotsk through a large window, the drift ice comes toward the shore in front of your eyes during winter. You can also enjoy amazing views of the Sea of Okhotsk from the “Shion” open-air space, and the open-air bath “Hoshi no Yu.”

Address:
172 Utoro Higashi, Shari, Hokkaido Bathing
fee (without stay):
Adults 1080 yen; Children 540 yen
Hot spring usage time:
Non-staying customers: 3AM to 8PM/Hotel guests: From check-in to 9AM the following morning
Closed:
Periodically
TEL:
0152-24-3222

Magical scenes abound Winter Festivals Along the Sea of Okhotsk

Aurora borealis is recreated with light and sound Shiretoko Fantasy

In this magical event, the actual aurora borealis, which once lit up the sky in Shiretoko, is recreated with laser beams. Colorful lights and dynamic sounds fascinate everyone in attendance. The drift ice shrine is also highly impressive.

Address:
Utoro Higashi, Shari, Shiretoko, Hokkaido (Shiretoko Utoro Onsen Ryuhyo Shizen Koen special venue)
Fee:
500 yen (elementary school students and above)
Operating period:
February 5 to March 12, 2016
Operating times:
20 minutes starting at 8PM
TEL:
0152-22-2125 (Shiretoko Shari-cho Tourist Association)

A variety of dynamic ice sculptures Abashiri Okhotsk Drift Ice Festival

This ice festival is held during the drift ice season. The main features are the ice sculptures in various sizes, and the incredible works of professionals, in particular. You can also enjoy a drift ice shrine, among other events, and local foods.

Address:
Minatomachi, Abashiri, Hokkaido (Abashiri Commercial Port Wharf Site)
Entrance fee:
Free
Operating period:
February 11 to 14, 2016
Operating times:
10AM to 9PM
TEL:
0152-44-6111 (Abashiri Tourist Office)

Surprises from ice sculptures and projection mapping Monbetsu Drift Ice Festival

This popular ice sculpture festival features projection mapping. The incredible main stage that looks like a building is an essential sight. It’s a special day that also features barbecues and fireworks.

Address:
Kaiyokoen, Monbetsu, Hokkaido (Minato-no-geihinkan area)
Entrance fee:
Free
Operating period:
February 11 to 14, 2016
Operating times:
10AM to 10PM
TEL:
0158-24-3900 (Monbetsu Tourist Association)

Okhotsk Monbetsu Airport

From Tokyo Haneda Airport

105 minutes

Number of departures per day: Approx. 1※

Nakashibetsu Airport

From Tokyo Haneda Airport

100 minutes

Number of departures per day: Approx. 1※

Memanbetsu Airport

From Tokyo Haneda Airport

105 minutes

Number of departures per day: Approx. 2※

From Nagoya Chubu Airport

115 minutes

Number of departures per day: Approx. 1※

*Information correct as of November 19 2015

Details correct as of end of October, 2015.