During the Meiji Era, as the town of Urahoro (on the south east coast of Hokkaido) was being developed, the pioneers called for the construction of a shrine to serve as a spiritual centre. On August 15, 1896, a small shrine was erected, enshrining Amaterasu (goddess of the sun and the universe). Read More ....
ABASHIRI GENERALPopulation : 38,966 (2011). Area : 470.9 km².
Abashiri is well known for its fishing, and especially its crab catching. Its also famous for its Meiji Era prison. The prison history which has been a central part of the town since the Meiji Era is among others, one of the places to visit. The town has an estimated population of 42 548 people and a total area of 471 km2. The area is also visited by thousands of tourists each year keen to see the floating sea ice. Abashiri is the southern most limit of this spectacular event and is also a stepping point to the World Heritage Listed, Shiretoko National Park.
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ABASHIRI WEATHER FORECAST
Thursday, 09 February
CITY OUTLINEAbashiri city is enclosed by the Okhotsk Sea to the north and Lake Abashiri to the south. The main train station is to the west of the central part of town, but it is located almost in the middle of the main tourist attractions. Abashiri River divides the town into two halves with the main area on the southern side of the river with the fishing areas on the northern.
Mt Tento rises to the south of the station and is home to the Abashiri Prison Museum, the Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples and Mt Tento Tent Land car camping area. Abashiri is popular in the winter as it is the southern limit of the drift ice coming down from China and Russia, however the winter temperatures can easily reach -15°c and more! Abashiri is approximately 350 km from Sapporo and it takes about 5 hours by train to reach JR Abashiri Station from JR Sapporo Station or about 45 min by aircraft from New Chitose Airport.
The Abashiri Tourist Information Center conveniently adjoins the JR Abashiri Station and offers a wide range of information on the city and also the surrounding Okhotsk area. Pamphlets and other tourist information is available in several languages including English, Korean and Taiwanese. The center is open 9 am to 5 pm daily.
Hours: Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Languages: English, Korean, Taiwanese.
An alternative Tourist Information Center is located at South 3, East 4-5. A 10 minute walk from Abashiri bus terminal and a 20 min walk from JR Abashiri station.
Hours: Open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Close from 30 Dec. to 5 Jan.
Languages: English, Chinese: Part-time
Wi-Fi: Available for free
ABASHIRI PLACES TO VISIT
While relatively small in size, Abashiri attracts thousands of tourists during the summer and especially the winter. There are various sites to see and it is also the gateway to Shiretoko National Park which was World Heritage Listed in 2005.
ABASHIRI MAIN ATTRACTIONS
Abashiri Art Museum
Displayed in the museum are many works by Kaichi Igushi, a well known Abishiri artist. Many of the exhibits reflect the scenery from the surrounding Okhotsk Plains. Other exhibitions are held at irregular intervals. Top
|Opening Hours||10:00 – 16:00 daily|
|Closed||Mondays & Public holidays|
|Getting There||South 6 West 1 (10 min walk from JR Abashiri Station)|
Abashiri Historical Museum
This museum was designed to help educate people about the local Abashiri area and as such has materials relating to the people and the development of the area. Exhibits include items from the Moyoro Shell Mounds, Edo period industrial and fishing equipment and other assorted artifacts. Top
|Admission||Adults ¥100 Children ¥5|
|Opening Hours||9:00 – 16:00 November 1- April 30|
|Closed||Mondays & Public holidays|
|Getting There||1 Katsuramachi, Abishiri. (15 min walk from JR Abashiri Station)
Abashiri Prison Museum
In use from 1890 up until about 1984 and located on Mt Tento, this ex-prison was moved from it’s previous location and reconstructed here. It has been preserved in almost it’s original form. It has been converted into a museum, the only one of it’s kind in Japan. It is possible to see how the prisoners lived and worked in the prison confines. The actual detainee housing areas are also still intact and can be seen. The museum has various displays to show aspects of daily prison life, has wax dummies to give a better picture of the prisoners themselves and also displays some of the shackles and chains that were used.Top
|Admission||Adults – ¥1080
H.S students – ¥730 Children – ¥520
|Opening Hours||8:00 – 18:00
April to October
9:00 – 17:00 November to March
|Getting There||*Buses operate from Abashiri Bus Terminal via Abashiri Station to the museum once every 1-2 hours (10 minutes, ¥240 one way from Abashiri Station)|
The current Abashiri Prison is well known throughout Japan as the setting for a hit TV series known as “Abashiri Bangaichi” (Exile in Abashiri). It is possible to take photos in front of the prison and there is also often a small stall with goods produced by the inmates, however since this is a real prison operated by the Kushiro Law Department inside visits and photos are strictly prohibited. Top
|Admission||Abashiri Prison is a real working prison and tourist visits are strictly prohibited.|
Ice Breaking Ships
During the cold winter, fresh water from the China-Russia border area freezes when it hits the chilly ocean. This ice then moves south toward Japan eventually reaching Hokkaido. There are various boats to take when wanting to view the ice floes but two of the more well known boats are the “Garinko” in Monbetsu and “Aurora” in Abashiri. The Garinko is fully equipped with an ice crusher on the bow and thus can make trips through the whole ice season the Aurora however sometimes cannot break the ice during the peak season but operates most of the time. There are also sea eagles and seals that follow the ice and they can sometimes be spotted from the boat. Cruises usually last for about an hour. These cruises are very popular and thus it is usually essential to make bookings in advance. Top
|Admission||Adults ¥ 3000
Children ¥ 1500
|Opening Hours||January 20th to first Sunday of April
Boat Departs January 9 am, 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm
February & March 9:30 am, 11 am, 12:30 pm, 2 pm, 3:30 pm, 4:30 pm
(Special Sunset Cruise – Can be irregular)
|Contact||0152-43-6000 for Reservations & Information|
Moyoro Shell Mounds
While Hokkaido’s native Ainu culture has been well documented and many museums set up showing their artifacts, little is known about the Moyoro culture. Excavation work along the banks of the Abashiri river in 1913 revealed a distinct culture thought to have inhabited the area some 1000 years ago. Pit-house dwellings and other artifacts, including bones and earthenware, related to this mysterious culture are on display. Top
|Admission||Adults ¥ 100
Children ¥ 50
|Opening Hours||9 am to 5 pm may to October
9 am to 4 pm November to April
|Closed||Mondays and public holidays|
|Getting There||Approximately 15 min walk from JR Abashiri Station|
Okhotsk Drift Ice Museum
This museum has been built at the top of Mt Tento with a view beautiful 360°view over the Okhotsk Sea and the surrounding area. Extremely popular in winter with visitors wanting to get a view of the drift ice coming down from the north, it is also quite popular in the summer as it houses a drift ice museum where visitors can enjoy the ice year round in the -15°C cooling room. There are large interactive displays which give information about the ice and the animals that life on or around the ice flows. There is also a viewing platform built at the top of the tower area. Top
|Admission||Adults ¥ 520
High School Students ¥ 420
Children ¥ 300
|Opening Hours||8 am to 6 pm April to October
9 am to 4:30 pm November to March
|Getting There||Approximately 10 min by the Mt.Tento bus from JR Abashiri Station|
Shiretoko National Park
Taking up most of Shiretoko Peninsula, Shiretoko National Park was World Heritage Listed in July 2005. The area is comprised of pristine, almost untouched, wilderness with steep mountains, small lakes and a wide variety of animals, including bears, foxes and other mammals and many birds including sea eagles. The area is also well known for its beautiful waterfalls, some of which flow directly into the sea of Okhotsk and can be viewed from sightseeing boat which departs from the port of Utoro. One of the famous waterfalls is called “Maiden’s Tears”. This waterfall is produced from warm water and thus steams as it falls. The lake area has a walking track and can be finished in about one (1) to two (2) hours. There is also cave Makkausu which was formed by seawater erosion. Inside the cave is a special type of luminous moss. The winter also often sees the area surrounded by floating ice. Top
Peoples of the North Museum
This museum was built as a dedication to people living in northern areas from around the world. The architecture of the building is interesting and is built to reflect the tent styles of accommodation that many northern people used. The museum houses a variety of objects and artifacts from various parts of the world. There are also interactive displays which are designed to help guide visitors through the museums exhibits and many of these displays are also in English. Top
|Admission||Adults ¥ 250
University Students : ¥ 80
Under 18 Free of Charge
|Opening Hours||9:30 am to 4:30 pm daily|
|Closed||Mondays and national holidays|
|Getting There||Approximately 10min by the Mt.Tento bus from JR Abashiri Station|
Sports Training Field
This multi use sports and training area is huge and has a view over Lake Abashiri. With prepared grounds for various sports and activities including (amongst others) all weather tennis courts, rugby, soccer, baseball and park golf fields. There is also an archery area, kids facilities and play area and a biking course. This sports facility is now regularly used for summer camps of high schools from Honshu island so the area can become quite busy during holiday times. Top
|Contact||0152-48-2392 for details / general enquiries or tennis court bookings|
Mt. Tento Tent Land
As the name suggests, this area is dedicated to those who would like to spend a night or two camping in the surrounds of a Prefectural Park area. The site is set up for car camping with vehicle facilities, lodges, and a central lodge with amenities. It is located on the southern side of Mt Tento and has views of the Okhotsk Sea, Mt. Daikan and the Shiretoko Mountains. Top
|Admission||Adults ¥ 1 400 p.p. / p.n.
School Children ¥ 750 p.p. / p.n.
Lodge A : 6 – 8 people ¥ 18 300
Lodge B : 4 – 5 people ¥ 12 200
Car Camping Site : ¥ 3 950
(Sink & Power Provided)
Private Camping Site : ¥ 2 650
(Sink & Power Provided)
Non-Reserved Tent Sites : ¥ 750
(Central Facilities Only)
|Opening Hours||April 29th to October 31st|