[Abashiri] Prison Museum, Common Glasswort Colony and Drift Ice Can Be Enjoyed in Tourist City
August 16th, 2016
- List of Nature Tourist Attractions
- List of Tasty Foods
- List of Onsen
- List of Other Tourist Attractions
- List of Events
- List of Accommodations
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.
Abashiri with 5 lakes, Lake Abashiri (網走湖), Lake Notoro (能取湖), Lake Tofutsu (とうふつこ湖), Lake Mokoto (藻琴湖) and Lake Riyaushi (リヤウシ湖) has rich nature. In the Lake Abashiri, skunk cabbage flowers are seen in a spring, and fishing smelt pond is enjoyed in the winter. Coral grass colonies that are well-known as a red carpet is in the Lake Notoro, and especially, Ubaranai Common Glasswort Colony (卯原内のアッケシソウ群生地) along the lakeside is one of the largest common glasswort colonies in Japan, and a lot of tourists come there in an autumn that the common glasswort turns into red color. The Lake Tofutsu beside Koshimizu Primeval Flower Garden (小清水原生花園) is well-known as a wild bird paradise, and about 60,000 greater white-fronted gooses and gooses come flying. In addition, the drift ice, blessings of nature, covered with the sea of the okhotsk can be seen in the winter.
Speaking of the Abashiri, Abashiri Prison Museum (網走監獄) that former Abashiri prison was rebuilt is famous. The prison has been well-known for Abashiri Banngai-chi (網走番外地) that Mr. Ken Takakura (高倉健) played the lead using here as a motif. Recently, Golden Kamuy (ゴールデンカムイ), a popular manga, uses here as a motif. In addition, Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum (オホーツク流氷館) with nice views from the mountaintop of Mt. Tento (天都山) was rebuilt in 2015, and a lot of the tourists come. Except those, Cape Notoro that the drift ice and views using as shooting places of movies or TV commercial, Kitahama Station (北浜駅) that is famous for a shooting place of the movies and Omagari Lakeside Park (大曲湖畔園地) with sun flowers and cosmos are relatively famous tourist attraction.
Except famous tourist attractions, there are Abashiri Phlox Park (あばしりフロックス公園), Kando-no-Michi (感動の径), Moyoro Kaizuka-kan Museum (モヨロ貝塚館), Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples (北方民族博物館), Abashiri City Museum of Art (網走市立美術館), Abashiri Folk Museum (網走市立郷土博物館), Ponmoi Colummer Joint (ポンモイ柱状摂理), Okhotsk Chipmunk Park (オホーツクシマリス公園) and Shiosai Park (しおさい公園). Speaking of tasty foods, seafood is popular after all. Izakaya Sakanatei Kihachi (居酒屋「酒菜亭 喜八」) is popular for whale dish, and is given bib gourmand by Michelin Hokkaido. Abashiri Zanki Rice Bowl (網走ザンギ丼) using the salmon and Abashiri Chanpon (網走ちゃんぽん) using foodstuff made in the Abashiri are served at some restraunts in the Abashiri. In addition, the Abashiri features local conveyor belt sushi restraunts, Kanigen (かに源), Sushi Dining Tsuki (鮨ダイニング月) and Big Sun (ビッグサン), too.
The Abashiri has much events, too. Abashiri Okhotsk Ryuhyo Festival (あばしりオホーツク流氷まつり) is held in early February. Then Haru-no-Shun Festival (春の旬まつり) are held from late April to late June, Haru Kani Gassen Festival (春カニ合戦 * Spring Crab Fight) is held in late May, Abashiri Summer Illumination (網走サマーイルミネーション) are held from late July to mid August, Abashiri Okhotsk Summer Festival (あばしりオホーツク夏まつり), Fireworks Festival (花火大会) and Orochon Fire Festival (オロチョンの火祭り) are held in late July, Abashiri Roadside Station Evening Market Festival (あばしり道の駅夕市まつり) are held from late July to early August, Abashiri Seven Deities of Good Fortune Festival (あばしり七福神まつり) is held in early September, Lake Notoro Coral Grass Festival (能取湖さんご草祭り) and Okhotsk Abashiri Marathon (オホーツク網走マラソン) is held in late September. In addition, Drift ice cruise that the tourists come from all over the world sailing from the roadside station "Ryuhokaido Abashiri (流氷街道網走)" is one of most famous winter events in the Hokkaido.
As for Onsen, Abashiri-kohan Onsen (網走湖畔温泉) along the Lake Abashiri is famous. By the way, a direct bus does not run between Sapporo or New Chitose Airport and the Abashiri, but an express bus "Dreamint Okhotsk-go (ドリーミントオホーツク号)" runs between the Sapporo and the Abashiri. Unfortunately, the express bus does not run between New Chitose Airport and the Abashiri. Besides, Rent-a-car can be rented around Abashiri Station.
List of Means of Transportation
Highway buses run between the Abashiri and the Sapporo. Refer to following the means of the transportation in the Abashiri. As for car rental comparison websites, you can compare vehicle rental prices on Tabi-Plaza Rental Car Reservation (旅ぷらざレンタカー予約), Jalan Rental Car (じゃらんレンタカー) and Rakutem Travel Rental Car (楽天トラベルレンタカー).
|(Chuo Bus)中央バス||From Sapporo to Abashiri|
|(Chuo Bus)中央バス||From Abashiri to Sapporo|
|Nippon Rent-a-car(ニッポンレンタカー)||Their office is near the Abashiri Station.|
|Times Car Rental(タイムズカーレンタル)||Their office is near the Abashiri Station.|
|Toyota Rental Lease(トヨタレンタリース)||Their office is in Omagari.||
|Station Rent-a-car(駅レンタカー)||Their office is near the Abashiri Station.|
|Ones Rent-a-car(ワンズレンタカー)||Their office is near the Abashiri Station.|
List of Nature Tourist Attractions
Abashiri has the Sea of the Okhotsk and 5 lakes. There are waterside of tourist attarctions, and the drift ice and the common glasswort are famous. My visited tourist attarctions are as follows.
Lake Abashiri is a brackish lake located in the southwestern part of Abashiri city, and is the 7th largest lake in the Hokkaido. The perimeter of the lake is about 39 km. The maximum water depth is about 17 m. Yobito Peninsula (呼人半島) projects far into the lake. Abashiri-Kohan Onsen (網走湖畔温泉) is around the peninsula, and skunk cabbage flowers are full in bloom in a spring. Especially, Memanbetsu Hygrophyte Community (女満別湿性植物群落) in Ozora town was designed as a natural monument in Japan. In the summer, a canoe can be enjoyed, and all the lake is iced in the winter, and smelt fishing, snowshoes and Birdwatching can be enjoyed. Smelt Fishing Tournament (日本一網走湖ワカサギ釣り選手権大会) is held in the winter.
Yobito Skunk Cabbage Colony
Yobito Skunk Cabbage Colony (呼人水芭蕉群落) is a skunk cabbage colony in the south part of Abashiri city, and is a generic name for 52 ha-wetland dotted along National Route 39, and it is said that it is one of the largest skunk cabbage colonies in Japan. A forest turns into the wetland flooded by meltwater, and innumerably skunk cabbages bloom from early April to mid April. The skunk cabbages can be seen along Yobito Nature Trail (呼人探鳥遊歩道) with about 7 km in total length, too. Article is here
Lake Notoro is a brackish lake located in the nortewestern part of Abashiri city, and is the 5th largest lake in the Hokkaido. The perimeter of the lake is about 33 km. The maximum water depth is about 23 m. The Cape Notoro (能取岬) in the northeast part of the lake juts out into the sea of the Okhotsk, and Lake-side Park Notoro Auto Campsite (レイクサイドパーク・のとろ) and the Ubaranai Common Glasswort Colony are in the south part of the lake. In the western part of the lake, some viewing places such as Notoro Parking Lot (能取駐車場) are built along National Route 238, and a cycling road is built along the lake shore, too. By the way, short-necked clams hunting can be enjoyed, too.
Ubaranai Common Glasswort Colony
Ubaranai Common Glasswort Colony (卯原内のアッケシソウ群生地) is a tourist attraction on the south beach of Lake Notoro (能取湖) in the western part of Abashiri city, and is well-known as the largest common glasswort colony in Japan. In early September, the common glasswort turns red, and the lakeshore is covered with red color. It was on the verge of extinction under the influence of soil improvement in the past, but it is recovered at present. The colony is in good condition on the lakeshore along a road from Okhotsk National Route (National Route 238) to Ubaranai Fishing Port (卯原内漁港). It is hard to find the road, so visitors should use Notoro-no-so Kagariya (能取の荘 かがり屋) in front of the colony as a landmark. A small restraunt, a public restroom and a parking lot are on the site. The best season to see the red common glasswort is from early September to mid September. Admission free. The parking lot is free of charge. Lake Notoro Coral Grass Festival is held on Saturday and Sunday, early September. Article is here
Lake Mokoto is a brackish lake located in the southeastern part of the Abashiri city. The perimeter of the lake is about 6 km. The maximum water depth is about 6 m. The lake is famous for freshwater clams, but there is no tourist facility.
Lake Tofutsu (濤沸湖) in the southeastern part of Abashiri city is a brackish lake between the Abashiri and Koshimizu town. The perimeter of the lake is about 27 km. The maximum water depth is 2.5 m. The Tofutsu means a mouth of the lake in Ainu language, and Ainu people called "a place that birds always stay", too. The lake has been designed as the Ramsar Convention since 2005, and is well-known as a rest place for waterfowl, and about 250 kinds of water birds can be watched through a whole year, and about 40 kinds of migratory birds such as swan stop by the lake in a winter. Article is here
List of Tasty Foods
Because the Abashiri faces the sea of the Okhotsk, fresh seafood is famous. The Abashiri Zanki Rice Bowl and the Abashiri Chanpon using those as ingredients are served at restraunts in the Abashiri. Izakaya Sakanatei Kihachi (居酒屋「酒菜亭 喜八」) given the bib gourmand by the Michelin Hokkaido, Kita-no-Ryoriya Fukai (北の料理yaふか井) and Sobakiri On (そば切り 温) placed in the Michelin Hokkaido have good reputations, and Risu-no-Mori (リスの森), Abashiri Beer Hall (網走ビール館), Shibanoya (しば乃家), Tsuki (月) and Fuka (風花) are popular in particular. My visited restraunts are as follows.
Abashiri Zanki Rice Bowl
Kinemakan (キネマ館) is a restaurant in Abashiri city located in the northeast part 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. Article is here
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. Article is here
Conveyor Belt Sushi
There are some local conveyor belt sushi restraunts in the Abashiri. I visited Tsuki (鮨ダイニング月) that is famous for large raw sliced fish and Kanigen (かに源) that is famous for having a wide variety.
Sushi Dining Tsuki
Sushi Dining Tsuki (鮨ダイニング月) is a popular conveyor belt sushi restraunt (回転寿司店) in Komaba, Abashiri city and reopened in 2005. The interior decoration of the restraunt is stylish, and comfortable space spreads out. Because I visited here around 16:00 on weekdays, there were few visitors. Still sushi chefs gave a service for me. Everyone was very kind. Article is here
Kanigen (かに源) is a popular conveyor belt sushi restraunt near Abashiri station. A building is not so large, but it has an unique atmosphere. I visited here to be on time for night opening hours at 16:30 on weekdays. A visitor like regular customer enter the building immediately after my entering. Article is here
Darumaya Abashiri Branch
Darumaya Ramen (だるまやラーメン) is a chain ramen restraunt in the suburbs of Sapporo. Abashiri Branch started a business in 2010. I decided to visit here because this ramen restraunt received a high evaluation on the Tabelog (食べログ). There is a building near Abashiri Civic Hall (網走市民会館). I visited here around 13:00 on weekdays. The ramen restraunt was almost full. There are some tables and family customers seem to enjoy. I sat at a counter seat and read a menu. I found the Doro Ramen, and this seems to be best recommended specialty. It is a strange name (Doro means mud in English), and I am curious about this menu. I ordered the Doro Ramen with a large serving of noodles. The price was JPY 830. While wainig for the ramen, some customers came to the ramen restraunt one after another. They are really popular. Article is here
Risu-no-Mori (リスの森) is a popular gelato shop founded in 1998 along Japan National Route 39 in Yobito, Abashiri city and is far from Abashiri Station, and is relatively near Abashiri Kohan Onsen (網走湖畔温泉). The Risu-no-Mori means a forest of a squirrel in English. A shop clerk that trained the gelato in Italy make the tasty gelato by ingredients produced in Hokkaido and 10 kinds of sugar at same facility with the Italy. Milk, a major ingredient, is produced in Nakanishi Junjo Ranch (中西純情牧場) in Abashiri. It is a confidential of the popularity that they take their ingredients produced in Hokkaido or Abashiri seriously. They have about 60 kinds of menus, and about 12 kinds of the gelato that change from day to day hit showcases every day. Article is here
List of Onsen
Speaking of the onsen in the Abashiri, the Abashiri-Kohan Onsen at the shore of the Lake Abashiri is famous. Except it, Inatomi Onsen (稲富温泉) is in the Abashiri, too, but that seems to be closed, so I hope they restart their business.
Abashiri-Kohan Onsen (網走湖畔温泉) facing Lake Abashiri (網走湖) is a hot spring resort located in the south side of Abashiri city. Hotel Abashirikoso (ホテル網走湖荘) succeeded in drilling hot springs in 1981, so the Abashiri-Kohan Onsen became well-known to the public and has known as the hot spring resort. 4 onsen accommodations dot for about 3 km along Kitami National Route (北見国道 * National Route 39) in the northeast of the Lake Abahiri. There are Yobitoura Campsite, cafes, restaurants, a variety goods shop and a forest of Yobito Skunk Cabbage Colony along the Kitami National Route. Risu-no-Mori (リスの森), Sobakiri On (そば切り 温) and cafe & cake Fuka (風花) are popular in particular. By the way, there is not a convenience store. Article is here
List of Other Tourist Attractions
Except the tourist attractions for nature, the Abashiri has other tourist attractions, too. The Abashiri Prison Museum is famous in particular. The Cape Notoro, the Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum, the Kitahama station and the Omagari Lakeside Park are famous, too. My visited places are as follows.
Abashiri Prison Museum
Abashiri Prison Museum (博物館網走監獄) is one of most popular tourist attractions of Abashiri city between Lake Abashiri and Mt. Tento-san. Buildings of former Abashiri prison (旧網走刑務所) were moved to here, and rebuilt on large land of 169,264 m2, and it has been opend since 1983. About 200,000 tourists come to see prisoner's livelihood in the late 1800s (Meiji Period). The prison is well-known for a lot of Japanese movies and novels such as Abashiri Banngai-chi (網走番外地) that Mr. Ken Takakura (高倉健) play the lead using here as a motif. Recently, Golden Kamuy (ゴールデンカムイ), a popular manga, uses here as a motif. Admission fee is JPY 1,080. A parking lot is free of charge. Their website has a voucher, and they discount the admission fee if visitors show it on a smartphone. Article is here
Cape Notoro (能取岬) is a cape beside Utsukushi-misaki Ranch (美岬牧場) in the northwestern part of Abashiri city, and is close to Lake Notoro (能取湖). Notoromisaki Lighthouse (能取岬灯台) of about 21 m height is built to keep a safe voyage on cliffs of 40-50 m height. The cape is well-known for a beautiful scenery, and The blue sky, green grass and a blue sea are comfortable in a summer, and a lot of drift ice come in a winter, and the winter view can be enjoyed. In addition, a road to the cape looks like a road to the sea, and the view is popular. A parking lot and a public restroom are on the site. Admission free. The parking lot is free of charge. The restroom is closed in the winter. Article is here
Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum
Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum with a panoramic view was built on the Mt. Tento in 2015. The Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum on 1st basement floor is charged, but other floors are free of charge. Especially, a rooftop is an observation deck, and the Lake Abashiri and the sea of the Okhotsk can be seen. Visitors can enjoy nice views.
|Admission fee||Free of charge|
|Parking lot||Free parking is provided (150 cars)|
|Business hour||Summer season 08:30-18:00. Winter season 09:00-16:30.|
|Regular closing day||Open all year round|
|Home page||Home page is here|
Kitahama Station (北浜駅) is an unmanned train station along the Senmo line (釧網線) in the southeastern part of Abashiri city, and is relatively close to Lake Tofutsu (濤沸湖), Koshimizu Primeval Flower Garden (小清水原生花園) and Lake Mokoto (藻琴湖). It is well-known as the closest station to the Sea of Okhotsk in Japan, and its distance is about 20 m from the station to a beach. The distance is about 50 m from the stataion to the sea. In a winter, the sea is covered with drift ice, so the station is popluar as the only station that the drift ice can be seen from a platform in the Japan. The small station has only a waiting room and Cafe "Teishaba" (軽食喫茶「停車場」), but it wss used as a shooting place for various movie or TV drama such as Abashiri Prison (網走番外地), The Ugly Duckling (みにくいアヒルの子) and If You Are the One, so a lot of oversea tourists come. Admission free. A free parking is free of charged. Article is here
Omagari Lakeside Park
Omagari Lakeside Park (大曲湖畔園地) is a former farm of Abashiri Prison (網走刑務所) in the northern lakeside of Lake Abashiri (網走湖), and become a tourist farm at present time. Abashiri people and tourists can enjoy experiencing harvest and birdwatching, and here is famous for sunflower and cosmos in a summer and an autumn. As for the sunflower, 1.5 million sunflowers are planted in the field of 18 ha, and are in full bloom in late September. It is lit up early in the evening. I have never seen those, so I want to try and see. Admission free. A parking lot is free of charge. There are a restroom and the parking lot on the site. The park opens from early May to October. Article is here
List of Events
Because the Abashiri is a tourist city, various events such as the events using the tasty foods or using ice are held from the spring to the winter. My visited events are as follows.
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 part 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. Article is here
Drift Ice Sightseeing in Abashiri
There are 2 sightseeing spots that tourists can enjoy the scheduled drift ice cruising in Japan. Abashiri in the northeast 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)". Article is here
List of Accommodations
Refer to following websites for the accommodations in the Abashiri. You can get information regarding online reviews and photos.
|Abashiri Royal Hotel(網走ロイヤルホテル)|
|Hotel Route-Inn Abashiri Ekimae(ホテルルートイン網走駅前)|
|Abashiri Central Hotel(網走セントラルホテル)|
|Dormy Inn Abashiri(ドーミーイン網走)|
|Abashiri Hotel Okhotsk Inn(網走ホテル オホーツク・イン)||
|Toyoko Inn Hokkaido Okhotsk Abashiri Ekimae(東横インオホーツク・網走駅前)|
|Abashiri Green Hotel(網走グリーンホテル)||
|Abashiri Ryuhyou-no-Oka Youth Hostel(網走流氷の丘ユースホステル)||
|Hotel Sun Abashiri(ホテルサンアバシリ)|
|Onsen Ryokan Motoyoshi(温泉旅館もとよし)||
|Abashiri Kanko Hotel(網走観光ホテル)|
|Hokuten-no-Oka Abashiriko Tsuruga Resort(北天の丘 あばしり湖 鶴雅リゾート)|
|Auberge Kita-no-Dan-Dan(オーベルジュ 北の暖暖)|
|Tento-no-Sato Hotel Honjin Abashiriko(天都の郷 ホテル本陣網走湖)|
|Pension Wani-no-Ie(ペンション わにの家)|
|Notoronoso Kagariya(能取の荘 かがり屋)|