It’s departure time in Asahikawa’s bright morning.
The most famous place in Abashiri is Abashiri’s prison. Our reporter wants to take a lot of pictures this time !
Moreover, drift ice can be seen only during this time of year.
Unfortunately, the weather was somehow cloudy.
As with the cherry blossoms and autumn leaves, the conditions and timing to see the drift ice berthing are important.
This is why our writer was particularly anxious about whether she will be able to see and photography the drift ice.
By the way, the Asahikawa Monbetsu Expressway has a free highway that connects to Engaru.
Ozora’s Märchen Hill
Get off the freeway and aim for Abashiri without going to Kitami.
When you pass by Bihoro, you will notice a vast snow field, where many crops will surely grow in summer.
If you drive further from there, along Route 39, you will see our first destination, the fairy tale hill (Märchen Hill).
The "Märchen Hill Memanbetsu” is located around Ozora Town’s roadside station, in a hilly area. Under the wide sky, the trees are lined up on a hill far away aligned with the horizon line.
It is a popular shooting spot throughout the four seasons.
During summer, you may see the trees distinctly in a joyful green landscape, but the winter scenery truly looks like a fairy tale’s landscape. The untouched, soft, pure-white snow shining from the sunbeams and the naked trees proudly lined up there, frozen while resisting to the cold, are one of Hokkaido’s many magical scenery.
Our writer can’t stop herself from pushing her camera’s shutter many times.
Kanagawa no Sakana (Kanagawa’s fish)
Our writer, still mesmerised by the Märchen Hill, entered Abashiri.
Compared to Asahikawa, Abashiri don’t have much snow.
In the downtown’s old-fashioned shopping street, our reporter is looking for a certain shop…
This street is a lunch spot, not a photo spot !
Our writer squinted her eyes to find her target among the lined-up restaurants.
And... Here it is, Kanagawa’s fish!
Our reporter wanted to eat this take-out seafood bowl very bad.
As expected of a fishmonger, the seafood bowl contains lots of fresh ingredients and costs only 500 yen!
A container with vinegared rice and another one with seafoods are handed separately to let you arrange your seafood bowl as you like.
The vinegared rice is soft and slightly sweet.
All the fishes are mellow and delicious with just the right amount of fat.
It also contains some raw surf clams, which makes this 500 yen bowl more than satisfying.
After getting a taste of the sea of Okhotsk, our reporter walked toward her trip's main target: the drift ice.
Name: Kanagawa no Sakana
Address: Abashiri-shi Minami 4 jōnishi 1 - 11
Phone number: 0152-43-2927
Business hours: 9:00 to 18:30
Regular holidays: 1st Sunday, 3rd Sunday, 5th Sunday
She arrived at the roadside station "Ryuhyo Kaido Abashiri” (Abashiri’s drift ice highway) around noon.
The weather was sunny and warm, but this also was the reason why the drift ice visible from the roadside station was so far away.
Usually people get on the Aurora, a Drift Ice Sightseeing & Icebreaker Ship, to see the drift ice but this time, since our reporter felt like she wouldn't be able to take a good picture in this situation/weather, sadly decided to left the roadside station.
Our reporter took a last picture of the Aurora, and walked toward the next shooting spot.
If you run along the coastline from Abashiri, you will see a wooden station building.
The Kitahama station is jointed with a popular coffee shop called “Teishajo”.
Featured in gourmet magazines, this small shop smells good and our writer wishes to eat here next time she comes here.
There is a railroad track behind the station building where the sightseeing train called “Ryuhyo Monogatari go" (ice drift story) run. The Ryuhyo Monogatari is the Ryuhyo Norokko's successor, which used to run between JR Abashiri Station and Shiretokoshari.
During this winter, the Ryuhyo Monogatari uses a vehicle specially designed for the collaboration with the game "Okhotsk ni Kiyu”.
Taken from the roadside station "Hanayaka (Hananohana) Koshimizu”.
After taking some pictures of the train at Koshimizu Road Station, the wind became colder and colder.
The color of the sea is cold, and thanks to the weather, drift ice fragments begin to appear in the sea. This is our last chance !
We are now heading to Cape Notoro hoping to see some ice drift.
A lighthouse located on the cape, at the end of a sparsely snowed meadow, this is Cape Notoro, a famous shooting spot.
As you walk through the sharper and sharper wind, the vast Sea of Okhotsk spreads itself before our reporter's eyes. The drift ices that were still offshore few hours ago is now slowly drawing near the coast.
The drift ice seen from the cliffs of the cape was not completely the same drift ice as the one tourists usually wish to see, but they were drift ices too and are part of the of nature.
The sound of the breeze, the changing scenery, the waves hitting the coast, and the swaying back and forth drift ice, the usually so calm winter sounded like it was alive.
The coldness and beauty of winter were equal, and our writer felt overwhelmed by the beautiful scenery of Okhotsk. Our writer took many pictures under the cold sky.
It was like she felt the nature itself.
The lighthouse and viewpoint taken from the parking zone on the West side of Misaki Tunnel (about 5 minutes after entering Route 76 from Cape Notoro).
Around 6:00 PM
It was past 6 pm when our writer stopped at the roadside station from Cape Notoro and took the free highway back to Asahikawa.
I introduced the photo spots in Abashiri, but there are many places to enjoy the Sea of Okhotsk.
Of course, it’s also okay to stay overnight and take your time to look around.
But for busy people, it’s also possible to make a day trip like this. We hope that this article will help you out to plan your visit in Abashiri.
Translated from Kanan’s article.