[Kitahama Station in Abashiri] Combination of Drift Ice and Train Can Be Enjoyed at Closest Station to Sea of Okhotsk in Japan
February 15th, 2017
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.
The Cafe "Teishaba" has opened at a former office since 1986. At the cafe, seats and a baggage rack of an old passenger car are used as interior goods, and the cafe has a good atmosphere of a railroad. So it is popular with railfans, and is crowded with them. The sea can be seen at the cafe, and the drift ice can be seen through a window in the winter. They serve dishes related to the Sea of the Okhotsk such as Okhotsk Ramen (オホーツクラーメン) and Scallop Curry and Rice (ホタテカレー), and those look tasty.
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
Koshimizu Primeval Flower Garden
Koshimizu Primeval Flower Garden (小清水原生花園) is a primeval flower garden along Shari National Route (斜里国道 * National Route 244) in Koshimizu town located in the southeastern part of Abashiri city, and is between the Sea of Okhotsk (オホーツク海) and Lake Tofustu (濤沸湖). The area is about 275 ha. Flowers and grass grow thick on a slim sand dune with 8 km in width, and this place sparked the primeval flower garden in Hokkaido, and is the only primeval flower garden with a station in the Hokkaido's primeval flower garden. Here is a shooting place for Japanese famous movie "The Yellow Handkerchief" that Mr. Ken Takakura (高倉健) play the lead. Admission free. A parking lot is free of charge. Article is here
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. Article is here
Drift Ice Spots and Drift Ice Cruise
In Japan, Drift ice appears only from January to March, and can be enjoyed only along the Sea of Okhotsk and a part of Pacific Ocean. The sea is covered with the drift ice from the shoreline of Monbetsu to Shiretoko Peninsula, and it is amazing view! It may be said that you must see the amazing view once. Hokkaido has 3 towns called "Monbetsu", Monbetsu (紋別) along the sea of the Okhotsk, Date Monbetsu (伊達紋別) along the Pacific Ocean and Monbetsu (門別) along the Pacific Ocean. In those Monbetsu, a place to view the drift ice is the Monbetsu (紋別) along the sea of the Okhotsk, and the Monbetsu, Abashiri (網走), Koshimizu (小清水), Shari (斜里) and Rausu (羅臼) have some drift ice spots. Tourists can enjoy the drift ice on the shore, and also enjoy it as the drift ice cruise on the sea. Unfortunately, global warming cause decreasing the drift ice recently, but you may see wild animals such as Earless Seal and Steller's Sea-eagle on the drift ice if you are lucky. Article is here
Look of Kitahama Station
The Kitahama Station has a small station building, about 80 m length platform and Kitahama Station Observation Deck (北浜駅展望台). The station building has a small waiting room, and a lot of visitors put their business cards on walls closely, and tourists may be amazed at a view like Kofuku Station (幸福駅). Even non passengers can enter the platform, and can take a photo on the platform. It might be actually not allowed, but an entrance was not closed, so I entered the platform. A view with nothing is good. The Kitahama Station Observation Deck is built bside the station building, and its height is about 5 m. It is the size that about 8 people can enter. A fine view can be enjoyed than the platform, and the Sea of the Okhotsk with Abashiri city or Shiretoko Mountain Range (知床連山) can be viewed, and a train along the rail can be photographed, too.
In the winter, a lot of tourists come to photograph the train and the drift ice at the same time. It is not lying that the drift ice can be seen from the platform, too. Except the tourists, some television news crews come to coverage here. the Sea of the Okhotsk covered with the drift ice is a spectacular view from the observatory deck.
Atmosphere of Drift Ice and Kitahama Station in Winter Can Be Watched on Youtube
|Admission fee||Free of charge|
|Parking lot||Free parking is provided (10 cars)|
|Business hour||Open 24 hours|
|Regular closing day||Open year all round|
|Home page||Home page is not provided|
|Mapcode||305 447 653*07|
List of Accommodations
Refer to following websites for the accommodations around the Kitahama Station. You can get information regarding online reviews and photos.
|Koshimizu Hanakotori-no-Yado Youth Hostel(小清水はなことりの宿 ユースホステル)|
A page of Abashiri is here