Located to the west of Shiretoko National Park, the small coastal city of Abashiri is best-known as the launching point from where visitors can experience the ‘Abashiri Drift Ice’ or ‘Okhotsk Ice Flow’. Accommodation in Abashiri is limited with only a couple of mid-sized hotels around Abashiri Station. Hokuten no Oka Abashiriko Tsuruga Resort offers the best accommodation in the area – only 10 minutes drive from central Abashiri and under 5 minutes from nearby Yobito Station.
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Drift ice is experienced along the entire length of Hokkaido’s northern Okhotsk coast but at its thickest around Abashiri. Occurring from mid-January to as late as mid-April, the ice is typically at its most impressive in February. Sightseeing boats operate Abashiri Port allowing visitors to experience the thick offshore ice. Cruises typically take around one hour and cost around JPY3500.