[Monbetsu Ryuhyo Festival] Winter Festival Using Ice
February 20th, 2016
Monbetsu Ryuhyo Festival
Monbetsu Ryuhyo Festival (もんべつ流氷まつり * The Ryuhyo means "Drift Ice" in Japanese) is a winter event held in Monbetsu city located in the eastern part of Asahikawa city, and has started since 1963. The festival is held at the side of Kaiyo-Koryukan (海洋交流館) during 3-4 days in mid February, and about 60,000 tourists come. There are ice 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.
Okhotsk Tower (オホーツクタワー), Okhotsk Tokkari Center (オホーツクとっかりセンター * The Tokkari means "Earless seal" in a local Hokkaido dialect) and Okhotsk Sea Ice Museum of Hokkaido GIZA (北海道立オホーツク流氷科学センター) is built near the Kaiyokoryukan Boarding Point, and Clione that is famous as a cruel angel and the earless seal can be enjoyed. In the center of the Monbetsu, Seafood Rice bowl at Marutomi Shokudo (まるとみ食堂) and Deep‐fried Minced Fish and Vegetables at Dezuka Suisan (出塚水産) were eaten, and those were tasty. By the way, a direct bus does not run between Sapporo or New Chitose Airport and here, but a express bus "Ryuhyo Monbetsu-go (流氷もんべつ号)" runs between the Sapporo and the Monbetsu.
List of Highway Bus
Refer to following a company for the highway bus service between the Monbetsu and Sapporo.
|Chuo Bus(中央バス)||From Sapporo to Monbetsu|
|Chuo Bus(中央バス)||From Monbetsu to Sapporo|
Drift Ice and Garinkogo2 Cruise in Monbetsu
There are 2 sightseeing spots that tourists can enjoy the scheduled drift ice cruising in Japan. Monbetsu 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 Monbetsu around mid January. If common ships collide with the drift ice, those are broken, but Drift Ice Icebreaker Garinkogo2 (流氷砕氷船ガリンコ号Ⅱ) that can break the drift ice zone goes into service. A lot of tourists visit here to see the drift ice from early January to late March. The drift ice icebreaker Garinkogo2 goes into service from 5 to 7 each day, and cruising time is around 60 minutes. The tourists can get aboard a ship at Kaiyokoryukan boarding point (海洋交流館). Article is here
Seafood Rice Bowl
Marutomi Shokudo (まるとみ食堂) is a popular restaurant in Monbetsu city located in the eastern part of Asahikawa city. Marutomi Watanabe fishery runs it, and there is a fishery store at same building, too. Tasty seafood has high reputation, and it was recommended by my friend. Article is here
Deep‐fried Minced Fish and Vegetables
Dezuka Suisan (出塚水産) is a long-established kamaboko (かまぼこ * deep‐fried minced fish and vegetables) factory near Monbetsu port in Monbetsu city and was founded in 1930. There is kamaboko store at the head factory, and customers can buy fresh deep‐fried minced fish and vegetables. There is a place for the customers to enjoy foods and drinks on 2nd Floor. By the way, the customers can enter the rooftop freely and can look over the Monbetsu port. Article is here
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. Article is here
Look of Venue
About 30 ice sculptures and ice slides of various sizes are made every year. The Monbetsu is famous for drift ice, so the sculptures seem to be uesd ice not snow. Unlike the ice sculptures of Sapporo Snow Festival (札幌雪まつり) and Asahikawa Winter Festival (旭川冬まつり), those are not art but heartwarming. 3-4 ice slides are built to make children and adults fun. A main ice sculpture was Old Hakodate Public Hall (旧函館区公会堂) when I visited here in 2016. A motif of the main ice sculpture is changed every year. The ice 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 ice sculptures, events such as a contest that people have to put up with throwing an ice column (氷柱ガマン抱きつき大会) are held, too, and a lot of food stalls open, and seafood of Monbetsu can be eaten, too.
Atmosphere of Monbetsu Ryuhyo Festival Can Be Watched on Youtube
|Admission fee||Free of charge|
|Parking lot||Free parking is provided (100 cars)|
|Regular closing day||From late February to early February|
|Home page||Home page is here|
|Mapcode||801 585 677*17|
List of Accommodations
Refer to following websites for the accommodations in the Monbetsu. You can get information regarding online reviews and photos.
|Monbetsu Prince Hotel(紋別プリンスホテル)|
|Monbetsu Central Hotel(紋別セントラルホテル)||
|Hotel Okhotsk Palace(ホテルオホーツクパレス)|
|Minshuku Sakura House Annex(民宿さくらハウス別館)||
|Minshuku Sakura House Main Building(民宿さくらハウス本館)||