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Photo By: Abhijit Sen
Largest City


A fascinating natural occurrence known as Ryuhyo, or drift ice, can be witnessed in a quaint port town located on the northeastern tip of Hokkaido.

By Abhijit Sen

Located on the northeast coast of Hokkaido, Abashiri is a town renowned for its picturesque beauty, situated in the heart of Abashiri Quasi-National Park. The city is particularly famous for the Ryuhyo, or the drifting ice found on the Sea of Okhotsk. More than one-third of its land is covered in lush forests and it is home to four pristine lakes: Abashiri Lake, Notoro Lake, Tofutsu Lake and Saroma Lake.

Natural Beauty


Photo by: Abhijit Sen Saroma Lake is perfect for fishing and boating.

The Abashiri Lake is the largest among the four lakes and is well-known for its crystal-clear waters and breathtaking views. Notoro Lake is renowned for its spectacular sunsets and vibrant red glasswort during autumn. The “Lake Notoro Grass Festival” is held every mid-September to celebrate the glasswort’s vibrant colors. Tofutsu Lake is a bird-watcher’s paradise, with over 200 species of birds recorded in the area. Saroma Lake is perfect for fishing and boating.

Cultural Heritage

Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples Abashiri Hokkaido Japan

Photo by: WikiCommons/ 663highland The town profoundly connects with the Ainu culture

Abashiri is not only blessed with beautiful natural attractions but also has a rich cultural heritage. The town profoundly connects with the Ainu culture, the indigenous people of Hokkaido. Discover the Ainu people’s fascinating history and rich culture at the Hokkaido Museum of Northern Indigenous Peoples. Immerse yourself in their unique traditions and better understand their way of life.

An Unseen World of Ice

Abashiri Drift Ice

Photo by: WikiCommons/Ryuhyo Drift ice

The city boasts a range of fascinating tourist attractions, including the intriguing prison museum that sheds light on the history of the town and the mesmerizing Ryuhyo, also referred to as drifting ice, which can be witnessed in all its glory on the Sea of Okhotsk during the winter season. The Ryuhyo is a natural phenomenon that occurs when the Sea of Okhotsk freezes over, and it is a breathtaking sight that attracts visitors from all over the world.

How To Get There


By train

It is possible to reach here by train. During the drift ice season, you can take the “Ryuhyo Monogatari” sightseeing train between Abashiri and Shiretoko Shari. You can also travel comfortably from Sapporo and Asahikawa by limited express train.

By car

It is about 30 minutes by car from the nearest Memanbetsu Airport to downtown Abashiri, and direct buses are available for a few specific locations. 

By plane

Abashiri is conveniently accessible by plane. Flights are from Kansai, Itami Airport, Tokyo (Haneda, Narita), Sapporo and Chubu.

Where To Stay

Dormy Inn Abashiri
  • 3-1-1 Minami 2-Jo Nishi, Abashiri-shi, Hokkaido, 093-0012 Japan
  • ¥8,728 - ¥60,206
  • 4.53/5 (1,178 reviews)
  • 0.7 km
Abashiri Royal Hotel
  • 7 Kita 6-Jo Nishi, Abashiri-shi, Hokkaido, 093-0076 Japan
  • ¥6,270 - ¥16,530
  • 3.87/5 (791 reviews)
  • 1.3 km
Abashirikohan Hot Spring Hotel Abashirikoso
  • 78 Yobito, Abashiri-shi, Hokkaido, 099-2421 Japan
  • ¥16,060 - ¥45,760
  • 4.15/5 (902 reviews)
  • 5.8 km

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