Action & Adventure
Drift Ice Walks 流氷体験
Walking on ice at the Okhotsk Sea is an otherworldly experience
Get an up-close experience of the Okhotsk Sea's famous drift ice, by booking yourself onto a thrilling walking tour over the frozen sea. If you are brave enough, try jumping into the icy cold waters for a quick dip.
Walking tours take place from the start of February until mid-March, depending on ice conditions
This area is the southernmost part of the northern hemisphere where drift ice can be found
How to Get There
The central access hub to the drift ice is the town of Utoro. Utoro is a 90-minute drive from Nakashibetsu and Memanbetsu airports. Direct flights to these airports run to and from Tokyo and Sapporo.
Alternatively, buses from Memanbetsu Airport to Utoro take two hours. For those arriving from Sapporo or Asahikawa, bus and train services are available, commonly routing through Kushiro or Abashiri.
Drift ice walking tours start from 5,000 yen and last 90 minutes. Don a dry suit and follow your guides out onto the ice. Should conditions not be frozen enough, you may instead be invited for an icy swim in the water. The main operators of drift ice walking tours in Utoro are Shinra and Gojiraiwa Kankou. Check their terms and conditions carefully before booking.
Along the Okhotsk Coast
If ice-hopping doesn't take your fancy, consider some of the other winter nature tours available, such as the Aurora icebreaker cruise in Abashiri or the Garinko 2 cruise in Monbetsu. If these activities are too tame, scuba diving under the ice in Rausu is another option.