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ROUTE 01

7daysEastern Hokkaido in winter The miracles of nature: Eastern Hokkaido, from the 3-star Road to frolicking in the snow in the Daisetsu Mountains

Route
New Chitose Airport〜Akanko Onsen, Kushiro, Kawayu Onsen, Abashiri, Utoro Onsen, On’neyu Onsen, Furano
Spot
  • Lake Akan, Akan International Crane Center Grus, Kushiro Marsh Observatory, Lake Mashu, Drift-ice, Abashiri Prison Museum, Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum, Shiretoko Five Lakes, Utoro Onsen,On’neyu Onsen, YAMA NO Aquarium, Night skiing
Season
winter
Plan
Route Map
1DAYNew Chitose Airport → Akanko Onsen

New Chitose Airport → Akanko Onsen

 

Lake Akan ice-fishing for pond smelt

Use a special drill to make a hole in the ice on frozen Lake Akan and enjoy fishing for pond smelt. Sets of fishing equipment are available for rent, so no preparation is required. After catching them, enjoy the fresh pond smelt cooked as tempura.

 

■Address/2-6-20, Akancho Akankonsen, Kushiro-shi ■TEL/+81-154-67-3200 ■http://www.lake-akan.com/en/

 

 

Lake Akan Ice Fireworks

Lake Akan Ice Festival Fuyu Hanabi (winter fireworks) is the big event in winter at Lake Akan. The fireworks sparkle like beautiful flowers blooming in the winter sky.

 

    

■Address/2-6-20, Akancho Akankonsen, Kushiro-shi ■TEL/+81-154-67-3200 ■http://www.lake-akan.com/en/

 

Day 1 LodgingAkanko Onsen

 

Accommodation
To Do
2DAYAkanko Onsen → Kawayu Onsen

Akanko Onsen → Kushiro

 

Akan International Crane Center Grus

The town of Akan is known as the birthplace of artificial feeding of Japanese cranes. A display explaining the activities and behavior of the cranes, as well as an image corner and library corner with crane-related literature are established within the center.

 

    

■Address/23-40, Akancho Kamiakan, Kushiro-shi ■TEL/+81-154-66-4011

 

 

Kushiro Marsh Observatory

With a design based on the tockstock that grows in the wetland, this building is reminiscent of an old-style eastern European castle. The observatory features a scale-model reproduction of the wetland, a wood carving of a 2-m-long ito-fish that was caught in Kushiro Wetland, and a large-scale LCD monitor on which live images of the wetland and "The four seasons of the wetland" can be viewed.

 

■Address/6-11, Hokuto, Kushiro-shi ■TEL/+81-154-56-2424

 

 

Kushiro → Kawayu Onsen

 

Kawayu Diamond dust

Diamond dust is the phenomenon in which water vapor in the air freezes into minute crystals when temperatures drop to below minus 10 degrees Celsius. Kawayu's hot springs are located around the river of hot water that flows through the town. The nearby forests are decorated with ice candles, and diamond dust is created artificially in a mystical, fantasy world of light and snow.

 

 

 

Day 2 LodgingKawayu Onsen

 

3DAYKawayu Onsen → Abashiri

Teshikaga

The morning hard rime A stroll at Lake Mashu

Hard rime can sometimes be seen when the temperature is really low.
At Lake Mashu, one of the coldest places in Japan, beautiful hard rime can be observed.
Come and see the contrast of the early morning blue sky and pure white nature.

 

    

 

 

Kawayu Onsen → Abashiri

 

Drift-ice sightseeing & icebreaker ship Aurora

The most popular means of drift-ice sightseeing is from the icebreaker ship, which cuts through the drift ice with its heavy hull. Experience the dynamic drift ice from the deck, or view in comfort while drinking coffee in the warm observation cabin. You may even see a seal resting on the ice, or a white-tailed- or Steller's sea eagle with a wingspan of up to two meters.

 

■Address/4-5-1, Minami3-johigashi, Abashiri-shi ■TEL/+81-152-43-6000 ■https://www.ms-aurora.com/abashiri/en/

 

 

Abashiri Prison Museum

Japan's only prison museum. Set over an expansive ground, this facility preserves and displays the prison complex buildings of Abashiri Prison, which was in service since the Meiji Period. Perhaps most impressive is the five-winged radial prison house of five buildings fanned out from a central watch tower. A registered tangible cultural heritage of Japan, this structure is also the oldest wooden prison building in the world. These historical buildings are populated by mannequin inmates so realistic you can almost hear them breathe. Step inside the Abashiri Prison Museum and take a trip back in time. The cafeteria even serves meals based on the actual recipes served to prisoners.

 

    

■Address/1-1, Yobito, Abashiri-shi ■TEL/+81-152-45-2411 ■http://www.kangoku.jp/world/

 

 

Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum

Have you ever touched an ice floe? Or tried spinning a damp towel in subzero temperatures? At the Ryu-hyo (Drift Ice) Museum, visitors can try these and other arctic experiences, even in the middle of summer. The facility is located at the peak of Mt. Tento, about 10 minutes drive from JR Abashiri Station. The Hands-On Drift Ice Terrace is kept at -15 degrees Celsius, and contains actual drift ice. Visitors can touch the drift ice firsthand, or try spinning a damp towel until it freezes solid. You can also meet creatures from the Okhotsk Sea, such as the clione sea angel. The observation terrace provides a breathtaking panorama.

 

 

■Address/244-3, Tentozan, Abashiri-shi ■TEL/+81-152-43-5951

 

Day 3 Lodging(Abashiri City)

 

4DAYAbashiri → Utoro Onsen

Abashiri →Shiretoko

 

The sea of Okhotsk
seen through the window of the train

Ryuhyo Norokko-go is a sightseeing train that operates between Abashiri and Shiretoko Shari stations on the Senmo Main Line. Drift ice can be seen from the window of the train, which slows down as it approaches the sightseeing spots.

■Address/Abashiri station:2-2-12, Shimmachi, Abashiri-shi ■TEL/+81-152-43-2362

 

 

Snow-shoe walking at Shiretoko Five Lakes

Walk amid the mystical snow-covered landscapes of the Shiretoko Five Lakes wearing snow shoes. A silent world of whiteness awaits. If you're lucky, you may even encounter the wild animals that live there.

 

■Address/284, Utorohigashi, Shari-cho Shari-gun ■TEL/+81-52-22-5522

 

 

Rausu

Drift-ice bird-watching cruise

Creatures and birds from various parts of the world gather to winter in the seas around Shiretoko. Particularly in the drift-ice season, several thousand white-tailed- and Steller's sea eagles rest here, and the chance of seeing one is over 90%.

 

    

 

Day 4 Lodging(Utoro Onsen)

 

5DAYUtoro Onsen → On’neyu Onsen

Utoro Onsen

Drift-ice walking

Scenes of drift ice naturally coloring the Sea of Okhotsk are unique to Hokkaido. At first glance, the drift-ice fields look flat but, in fact, overlap and rise up, three dimensionally. If the light conditions are right, you may even see drift ice that's not white, but ice blue.

 

■Address/284, Utorohigashi, Shari-cho Shari-gun ■TEL/+81-52-22-5522(Non-profit Shiretoko Naturalist's Association )

 

 

Utoro OnsenOn’neyu Onsen

 

On’neyu Onsen

Hot-spring inns and hotels are situated across the River Muka, which flows alongside National Highway Route 39. The "Onne" in Onneyu Onsen means "large place from where hot water springs" in the Ainu language and the onsen is characterized by its abundant hot water.

 

 

Day 5 LodgingOn’neyu Onsen

 

 

6DAYOn’neyu Onsen → Furano

The white fields on a morning walk

Onneyu Onsen is surrounded by pasture land and fields of onions, of which the area boasts the largest production in Japan. In winter, it's transformed into a world of pure white. Take a stroll in the early morning cold under the clear blue sky when, in the morning light, the land looks to be covered with a huge white carpet.

 

■Address/111-2, Rubeshibecho Onneyuonsen, Kitami-shi ■TEL/ +81-157-45-2921(Onneyu Onsen Tourism Association)

 

 

YAMA NO Aquarium

When you think of an aquarium, a seaside location comes to mind. At first glance, this location at the foot of a mountain in one of Hokkaido's coldest areas may not seem ideal for an aquarium, but was in fact selected with a special purpose in mind. This special aquarium is home to a collection of freshwater fish native to Hokkaido's lakes and rivers, which are extremely rare throughout Japan. The facility has been renovated to take advantage of this cold climate for a world-first -- a "frozen river aquarium tank"! Observing fish swimming below the frozen surface is a very special experience, only found at Onneyu Onsen "Yamano Aquarium".

 

    

■Address/1-4, Rubeshibecho Matsuyama, Kitami-shi ■TEL/+81-157-45-2223

 

 

On’neyu OnsenFurano

 

Night skiing

As well as providing beautiful scenes of starry skies and nighttime views of downtown Furano, the pistes are also popular among skiers for their length and difference in elevation. Night skiing is recommended as the surface of the snow is easier to see under the floodlights.

 

■Address/Nakagoryo, Furano-shi(Furano Ski Resort) ■TEL/+81-167-22-1111 ■http://www.princehotels.com/en/

 

Day 6 LodgingFurano

 

 

7DAYFurano → New Chitose Airport