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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Nature

Abashiri 網走エリア

The icy beauty of Abashiri

The Abashiri area is most famous for its ryuhyo ice. These masses of drift ice covering the ocean surrounding Abashiri bring with them an array of unusual wildlife and idyllic winter scenes to the Okhotsk coast. But don't let that stop you from enjoying the bountiful nature and tasty food of Hokkaido's northern frontier in other seasons as well.

Don't Miss

  • The spectacular ryuhyo along the Okhotsk coast from January to late March
  • The summer scenes of blue lakes and mountain backdrops
  • Some of the freshest, most delicious seafood in Japan

How to Get There

Flights from Sapporo and Tokyo fly directly to Memanbetsu Airport; from there it's a 30-minute drive to Abashiri.

The best way to explore the area is by car. It is 150 kilometers from Lake Saroma in the west to Shiretoko National Park in the east, and there are lots of stops and photo opportunities along the way, providing a great opportunity for a fun-filled scenic road trip. Alternatively, a bus or train to Abashiri from Sapporo will take about six hours.

Where winter is king

Abashiri's biggest draw is the spectacular ryuhyo drift ice, an incredible experience you would find hard to replicate anywhere outside of the Arctic Circle. While you can simply drive or take the Ryuhyo Monogatari train along the coast to admire this phenomenon, to get really close, hop on a drift ice tour in Abashiri or Utoro. Go to Mt. Tento to find the Ryuhyo Drift Ice Museum, the Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples, and the fascinating Abashiri Prison Museum.

Grab a bite

Okhotsk locals will tell you they have the best seafood in Japan (and therefore the world), fattened on extra-rich nutrients deposited by the drift ice. Try an uni-don or ikura-don for melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness.

The four seasons

Winter sees hundreds of swans migrating to Lake Tofutsu, a Ramsar Convention wetland. Lake Tofutsu is a birdwatching paradise all year, so even if winter isn't your style, a perfect spring or summer day trip to Shiretoko National Park will give you stunning views of Lake Tofutsu, and the native wildflowers of Koshimizu Gensei-kaen.

Lakeside sunsets

Opposite Abashiri are Lake Saroma and Lake Notoro, large lakes along the coast famous for their shellfish (try the Saroma scallops) and romantic sunsets. Once you're fully satisfied with the coastline attractions, drive inland to get a closer view of Mount Shari, picturesque amongst fields of wheat and yellow rapeseed. Keep driving to reach the hidden blue lake of Kaminokoike, near the magnificent Lake Mashu.

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