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Abashiri Prison Museum 博物館 網走監獄

Abashiri Prison Museum Abashiri Prison Museum
Abashiri Prison Museum Abashiri Prison Museum

Photo copyright: Abashiri Prison Museum

Japan's only prison museum shows what life was like in Japan's most notorious jail

Clinging to the side of Mt. Tento and overlooking the city of Abashiri in eastern Hokkaido, the only prison museum in Japan tells dark stories and provides a glimpse into the history of Japan's wild frontier.

Don't miss

  • Viewing the fascinating design of the main prison house
  • The virtual reality section to experience the rigours of prison life

How to Get There

Visit the museum by bus or taxi from Abashiri city center or by bus from Memanbetsu Airport.

From Abashiri Bus Terminal or Abashiri Station, take the Kanko Shisetsu Meguri bus toward Tentozan.

From Memanbetsu Airport, take the limousine bus toward Abashiri Bus Terminal and get off at Tentozan-Iriguchi. From there, it is a one-kilometer walk to the museum or a short taxi ride.

Abashiri Prison Museum

Harsh punishment in a tough territory

Barring the death penalty, confinement at Abashiri Prison was the harshest punishment a judge could give to a criminal in Meiji-era Japan.

From the 1890s, criminals—including political “criminals”—were sent here to construct the prison with their bare hands. The masterpiece of their labors is the exceptional five-wing wooden prison house, completed in 1912.

Abashiri Prison Museum

Construction of the first road to Sapporo

To guard against Russian invasion, the inmates were also forced to construct the first road to Sapporo. You can experience their heroic story in the penological/virtual reality section.

Abashiri Prison Museum

Try the “prisoner's meal”

If you are looking for a real taste of Japan prison life back in the day, try the prisoner's meal for an unusual, inexpensive lunch.

Abashiri Prison Museum

Around Mt. Tento

Aside from offering beautiful views of the Abashiri area, Mt. Tento also has two other excellent museums: the Okhotsk Drift Ice Museum and the Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples.

* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.

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