Fly to Eastern Hokkaido
~ Access Eastern Hokkaido from the Skies ~
25 amazing adventures to try at least once
in wintertime Eastern Hokkaido
- AIRDO / Facebook
- Official Facebook
Drift ice originates in Siberia in the far north, from where it is carried southward to the Okhotsk Sea. For a short period each year, from late January to March, when the sea temperature drops to -1.8°C, this drift ice can be observed in Hokkaido. What's more, the drift ice is constantly moving with the wind and tides, so it can't be seen every day. It is no exaggeration to say that seeing this drift ice is a once in a lifetime experience. And the essential way to witness this sight is from the Abashiri Drift Ice Sightseeing and Icebreaker Ship Aurora.
Just like the observation ships that traverse the Antarctic, the Aurora uses its weight to crush through blocks of ice. As a result, the passengers on board can actually feel the ship lurch and shudder as the ice gets crushed beneath. Thick lumps of ice sometimes get in the Aurora's way, but she just backs up a little before plowing right through. The passengers sometimes burst into applause at her thrilling bravado as she rams her way forward by sheer force.
While it is wonderful to look out by day on the endless expanse of sea encased in white ice, the sunset cruise, which operates for a limited time only, is just as enthralling. The romantic vision of the Aurora’s shadow trailing over the drift ice, tinted amber under the setting sun, is truly breathtaking. So why not witness a once in a lifetime spectacle aboard the Aurora drift ice cruise.
Abashiri Drift Ice Sightseeing and Icebreaker Ship Aurora
Minami 3 Jo Higashi 4 Chome 5-1, Abashiri-shi, Hokkaido
(Office hours: 9:00 to 18:00)
8:00 to 18:00
Season: January 20 to April 2
Closed days: Open every day during the season (however, cruises may be cancelled due to bad weather)
From Memanbetsu Airport
About 40 min. by Shiretoko Airport Liner Bus
About 50 min. by bus
About 50 min. by rental car or taxi
About 40 min. by car
Charge: Adults 3,300 yen / Elementary school children 1,650 yen
Middle and high school students are charged the adult price. Infants travel free.
Open a bigger map