Discover drift ice and fantastic scenery
Mombetsu is most famous for the fabled drift ice that bears down on its secluded shores every winter. With its own icebreaker boat tours, it makes a great alternative to the busier areas along the Sea of Okhotsk coast.
How to Get There
Fly to Okhotsk Mombetsu Airport direct from Tokyo.
Buses from Sapporo take five and a half hours, or three and half hours from Asahikawa.
Mombetsu faces the Sea of Okhotsk and is famous as the arrival point for drift ice each winter. If you are lucky, you may see wildlife including cliones, which are translucent sea snails commonly called "sea angels", white-tailed and Steller's sea eagles, and seals.
Discover the world of ice
Mombetsu is one of the best places to witness the incredible spectacle of vast ice floes floating southwards throughout the winter. Take a cruise on the Garinko III IMERU icebreaker ship, which uses an Archimedean Screw mounted on the bow to break through the ice. As it breaks through, passengers can feel the vibrations, adding to the experience.
Even if you come in summer, you can still learn about drift ice at the Okhotsk Sea Ice Science Center. You can even experience it first hand in a specially chilled chamber containing blocks of real drift ice.
While you're in the area
In summer or winter, take an hour or two to visit the Okhotsk Tokkari Center—a hospital for injured seals—for a dose of cuteness. Drive along the coast to admire the vivid array of native seaside flowers in summer, or the frozen landscape of drift ice hugging the shore in winter. Go to the secluded Lake Komuke or the Omusaro Genseikaen wildflower garden either side of Mombetsu for the best views.
* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.