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Abashiri city

AbashiriCentral Abashiri Map Abashiri is a city positioned in the northeast part of Hokkaido, and faces the Okhotsk Sea.
It has a population of 40 thousand people.

Main industries are agriculture and fishery, and now touring is also one of important industries.

Most popular resource for tourism is "ryuhyo" (sea ice) in winter.
In addition, the former Abashiri Prison is known as the harshest prison in Japan.
When we Japanese think of Abashiri, these come to our mind first.

But there are many natural scenery around Abashiri city.
Some lakes are dotted, and wild flower fields are spread around them.

Ryuhyo is a Japanese word meaning sea ice or drift ice.
Freshwater from Amur River in Russia freezes in Okhotsk Sea in winter, and countless blocks of ice flow drift toward south.
At last they reach the northwest coast of Hokkaido around from late January to mid-February.
Abashiri is one of good viewing spots of ryuhyo.
Every year, sightseeing ice breaker vessels are operated from late January to March.

Abashiri City Travel Site
Sightseeing ice breaker vessel "Aurora"

Abashiri area mapMoyoro Shell Mound /1/

Moyoro Shell MoundIt is an archaeologic site of shell mound, and located north of central Abashiri.
It was discovered in 1913.
The result showed this was built by the different ethnic group from Ainu and Jomon men who were ancecters of current Japanese people.
You can see the archaeologic site and visit a museum displaying excavated articles.

Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum /2/

Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum It is a museum displaying real "ryuhyo" (sea ice).
It is located about 3 km southwest of central Abashiri city, and is on the top of Mount Tento which is 207 meters high.
We learn about sea ice, and see marine creatures under sea ice.
It takes 12 minutes by route bus for Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples from Abashiri station.

Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples /3/

Hokkaido Museum of Northern PeoplesIt is an only museum in Japan introducing the cultures of Ainu, Inuit, Koryaks and other northern people, and was established in 1991.
It is located 0.5 km south of the Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum.
We can learn their clothing, food and housing, and know their hunting and fishing.
It takes 14 minutes by route bus from Abashiri station.

Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples official website

Abashiri Prison Museum /4/

Abashiri Prison MuseumIt is a museum that some buildings and structures of the former Abashiri Prison were removed and rebuilt here. It is located about 1km southwest of the Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum.
Most of them were built in the end of the 19th century.
To Abashiri prison, political or violent criminals were sent, and inhuman working was imposed on them. But breaking this prison was most difficult in Japan.
In this museum we can know the prison of that time.
Since the middle of the 20th century, Abashiri prison has become common prison. Real Abashiri prison is located about 2km north of here, and the front gate is also a sightseeing spot for Japanese tourists.
It takes 7 minutes by route bus for Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples from Abashiri station.

Abashiri Prison Museum official website

Lake Notoro /5/

Lake NotoroIt is an oval lake located about 7 km west of central Abashiri.
It is connected with the Okhotsk Sea, so it is a brackish lake.
In the Ubaranai district on the southern shore of the lake, there is Japan's largest glasswort community.
In September, the grasses get bright red, then the lakeside is covered with them like red carpet.
It takes 17 minutes by route bus toward Tokoro from Abashiri station.

Lake Tofutsu /6/

Lake TofutsuIt is for bird-watching lake located about 12 km southeast of central Abashiri.
It has become cut off from the sea by a sand bank which is about 7 km long, then it is a brackish lake.
Many birds come here, and many wild flowers bloom in summer around this lake. Therefore it was inscribed as a registered wetlands under the Ramsar Convention in 2005.
On the west coast, there is "Swan Park" ("Hakucho-koen" in Japanese). It has an observation house for bird-watching and opens from mid-October to mid-May.
On the sand bank, fields of grass are spread, and wild flowers bloom from June to August. The fields are called "Genseikaen". On the sand bank, JR Senmou Line (railroad) and Route 244 run, then many tourists visit here by train or car.
It takes 28-33 minutes by route bus toward Koshimizu from Abashiri station.
And it takes 16-21 minutes by train on JR Senmou Line from Abashiri. Get off at Kitahama or Genseikaen station.

Shibazakura Park /7/

Shibazakura parkIt is a flower park in Higashi-mokoto district located about 25 km south of central Abashiri.
"Shibazakura" is a Japanese word meaning "moss phlox", and it is a beautiful pink flower.
In May many shibazakura flowers covers whole hill in the park.

Scenic or Nature / Park or Garden / Resort / City, Town or Village / Quarter or Street /
Temple or Shrine / Museum or Laboratory / Market or Commercial facility / Factory /
Other Building or Construction / Historic place / Remains / World Heritage Site

How to get to Here

By airplane

  1. By airplane, from each airport to Memanbetsu Airport.
    (For example, it takes 1 hour and 40 minutes from Haneda (Tokyo) and 2 hours from Kansai (Osaka).)
  2. Then by bus, from the airport to Abashiri Station, it takes 30 minutes.

By railroad

By limited express of JR, it takes about 5 hours 30 minutes from Sapporo.

Museum of Moyoro Shell Mound
Photo by Abashiri City
Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum
Photo by Abashiri City
Real Ryuhyo in the room of -15 degrees C
Photo by Abashiri City
Clione (Sea angel) living around Ryuhyo
Photo by Abashiri City
Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples
Photo by Abashiri City
Entrance of Abashiri Prison Museum
©Yasufumi Nishi / © JNTO
Inside of Abashiri Prison
Photo by Railstation.net
Solitary-confinement cell
Photo by Railstation.net
Glasswort around Lake Notoro
Photo by DO PHOTO
Lake Tofutsu in winter
Photo by Abashiri City
Swan Park Genseikaen by JR Senmou Line
Photo by DO PHOTO
Shibazakura Park
Photo by DO PHOTO
Photo by DO PHOTO
Okhotsk Sea filled with Ryuhyo at Cape Notoro
Photo by DO PHOTO
Sightseeing ice breaker vessels in Ryuhyo
©Hokkaido Tourism Organization / © JNTO
Walking on Ryuhyo
©Hokkaido Tourism Organization / © JNTO

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