- February 20th, 2016
[Abashiri Okhotsk Ryuhyo Festival] Winter Festival Using Ice and Snow
Abashiri Okhotsk Ryuhyo Festival
Abashiri Okhotsk Ryuhyo Festival (あばしりオホーツク流氷まつり * The Ryuhyo means "Drift Ice" in Japanese) is a winter event held in Abashiri city located in the northeastern direction of Kitami city, and has started since 1966. The festival is held at Abashiri Port Event Site (網走商港埠頭特設会場) during 3-4 days in mid February, and about 55,000 tourists come. It takes about 10 minutes on foot from Roadside Station "Ryuhyo kaido Abashiri (流氷街道網走)" to there. There are ice sculptures, snow sculptures, ice slides, food stalls, a public restroom at the site, and some events such as concerts are held, too. It is very cold, so you had better wear a warm outfit. Admission free. A parking lot is free of charge. By the way, the roadside staion is a ferry terminal of Icebreaking Ship Aurora2 (流氷砕氷船オーロラ2), so it is crowded with tourists in a winter. A lot of sightseeing buses park at a parking lot.
Drift Ice and Aurirago Cruise in Abashiri
There are 2 sightseeing spots that tourists can enjoy the scheduled drift ice cruising in Japan. Abashiri in the northeastern part of the Hokkaido faces the Sea of Okhotsk, and is one of the sightseeing spots for drift ice cruising. Drift ice drifts to the offing of Abashiri around mid January. If common ships collide with the drift ice, those are broken, but Drift Ice Icebreaker Aurorago (流氷観光砕氷船おーろら号) and Aurorago2 (おーろらⅡ号) that can break the drift ice zone with the weight of themselves go into service. A lot of tourists visit here to see the drift ice from mid January to early April. The drift ice icebreaker Aurorago and Aurorago2 go into service from 2 to 5 each day, and cruising time is around 60 minutes. The tourists can get aboard a ship at the roadside station "Ryuhyo Kaido Abashiri (流氷街道網走)". Read More
In addition, Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum (オホーツク流氷館) that introduces about the drift ice on Mt. Tento (天都山) throughout the year is in the Abashiri, too. Abashiri-kohan Onsen (網走湖畔温泉) is at the foot of the Mt. Tento, so it is suitable for warming cold body with hot springs. Speaking of specialty foods in the Abashiri, Abashiri Zanki Rice Bowl (網走ザンギ丼) and Abashiri Zanki Rice Bowl are served by some local restaurants.
Abashiri Zanki Rice Bowl
Kinemakan (キネマ館) is a restaurant in Abashiri city located in the northeastern direction of Kitami city. There is a restaurant on second floor of roadside station "Drift Ice Highway Abashiri (流氷街道網走)". I visited here to eat Abashiri Zanki Rice Bowl (網走ザンギ丼). The Abashiri Zanki Rice Bowl is a rice bowl topped with fishery products and vegetables harvested in Abashiri and is served at about 9 restaurants in Abashiri city. I did not know why interior decoration of a building was a movie theater style with the Showa period. I bought a meal ticket of the Abashiri zanki rice bowl via a ticket vendor at once. The price was JPY 880. Read More
Grand Glacier (グラングラシェ) is a restaurant at Abashiri Central Hotel (網走セントラルホテル). There is a building in Abashiri Station side. I visited here to eat Abashiri Chanpon (網走ちゃんぽん). Abashiri Chanpon is a local speciality dish of Abashiri. They cooperated with Obama Chanpon (小浜ちゃんぽん) in Nagasaki, the home of Chanpon, and the Abashiri Chanpon was developed. The characteristic of the Obama Chanpon are light soup, abundantly vegetables and seafood, straight noodles. It is Abashiri Chanpon to have made from ingredients produced in Abashiri. Visitors can eat Abashiri Chanpon at 13 restraunts in the city. Read More
By the way, "Dreamint Okhotsk-go (ドリーミントオホーツク号)", an express bus, runs between the Sapporo and the Abashiri. Besides, Rent-a-car can be rented around Abashiri Station.
Abashiri (網走) that about 40,000 people live is the 20th largest tourist city in Hokkaido, and is one of regional hub cities of the Northeastern Hokkaido area. It is also a fisheries city facing the Sea of Okhotsk, and Crab, Idiot Fish, Whale and Salmon are famous as a local specialty. As for a climate, it is chilly that temperature rises to nearly 25 degrees in a summer, and it is cold that temperature falls to nearly -5 degrees in a winter, and it does not snow hard, too. It may be said that the Abashiri is relativelly warm climate in the Hokkaido. The Abashiri is well-known for drift ice reaching to the coast, and is famous as a winter tourist spot, too, and is roughly divided into 2 areas, a old city area (a neighborhood of Abashiri River mouth) and a new suburbs area. The new suburbs area is more developed than the old city area, and has more restaurants than the old city area. Read More
Winter Festivals in Hokkaido
Snow often begins to fall around Christmas season, and Hokkaido is covered with the snow until late March that snow begins to melt, the ground turns into the white world in a winter. The snow falls in silence, and the temperature falls, too, and its peak is February, and various winter events that snow, ice and coldness can be enjoyed are held all over Hokkaido around the February. Read More
Look of Venue
About 30 snow sculptures and ice sculptures, ice slides and a snow maze of various sizes are made at the venue. Unlike Monbetsu Ryuhyo Festival (もんべつ流氷まつり), there are not only ice sculptures as a motif but also snow sculptures. As for the ice sculptures, I felt that its qualities were high generally as well as Sapporo Snow Festival (札幌雪まつり) and Asahikawa Winter Festival (旭川冬まつり). Large and small ice slides are built to make children fun. A main ice sculpture was Abashiri Prison when I visited here in 2016 because it was designated as the important national cultural property in 2015. A motif of the main ice sculpture is changed every year. The ice sculptures and snow sculptures are lit up in the evening, and those look beautiful. The venue is not so large, so it takes about 60 minutes to look around carefully.
Except enjoying the snow sculptures and the ice sculptures, events such as a playing large quoits that people may win king crabs or a cash JPY 10,000 were held, too, and it looked fun. In addtion, a lot of food stalls open, and seafood of the Abashiri can be eaten, too and a lot of tourists gathered.
Atmosphere of Abashiri Okhotsk Ryuhyo Festival Can Be Watched on Youtube
|Admission fee||Free of charge|
|Parking lot||Free parking is provided (400 cars)|
|Regular closing day||From late February to early February|
|Home page||Home page is here|
|Mapcode||305 679 074*01|
List of Accommodations
Refer to following websites for the accommodations in the Abashiri. You can get information regarding online reviews and photos.
ABASHIRI KOHAN ONSEN
A page of Abashiri is here
By the way, Club Tourism (クラブツーリズム), a Japanese tour travel agency, provides various types of tours such as day trip tours or ordinary tours. In the case of bus tours, tourists do not drive their cars themselves, so they can savor alcohol. Choosen tourist attractions are national parks such as Rishiri and Rebun, Shiretoko, and popular tourist places such as Furano and Biei, and some activities such as hiking and fruit picking are also enjoyed depending on seasons. If you are interested in tour trips, you should visit the club tourism's website for details.
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