Abashiri: Exploring Local Culture & Traditions

Abashiri: Exploring Local Culture & Traditions

Abashiri: Exploring Local Culture & Traditions

Welcome to the charming town of Abashiri, located on the northeastern coast of Hokkaido, Japan. Abashiri offers visitors a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural experiences. From its stunning snowy landscapes to its rich history and traditions, this town is a must-visit destination for those seeking an authentic Japanese experience.

Getting There

Abashiri is easily accessible by both air and rail. The closest airport is Memanbetsu Airport, which has regular flights from major cities in Japan. From the airport, you can take a taxi or bus to reach Abashiri. If you prefer to travel by train, Abashiri Station is served by several railway lines, including the scenic Abashiri Railway.

Places to Visit

Abashiri Prison Museum

A visit to the Abashiri Prison Museum is a must for history buffs. This museum offers a fascinating insight into the history of Japan's prison system, particularly the Meiji-era prison, which was once infamous for its harsh conditions. You can explore the various exhibits, including recreated prison cells and displays of prisoners' artwork. Don't miss the opportunity to take a boat tour to view the former prison from the sea.

Mt. Tento

Rising over Abashiri, Mt. Tento offers breathtaking panoramic views of the town and its surrounding landscapes. You can take a cable car ride to the summit and enjoy the scenic beauty of Hokkaido. The observation deck at the top provides a perfect vantage point for capturing memorable photographs. During the winter months, Mt. Tento also offers excellent skiing and snowboarding opportunities.

Okhotsk Ryu-hyo Museum

Abashiri is renowned for its ice floes, and the Okhotsk Ryu-hyo Museum is the perfect place to learn more about this natural phenomenon. The museum showcases the unique ecosystem of the Okhotsk Sea and its surrounding ice floes. You'll have the chance to see various marine life, including seals and drift ice-associated organisms. The highlight of the museum is the walk-through tunnel, where you can experience what it's like to be surrounded by ice.

Local Cuisine

Abashiri is also known for its delicious local cuisine, which is influenced by both seafood and traditional Japanese flavors. Make sure to try some of the local specialties, such as:

  • Abashiri Ramen: A hearty bowl of ramen noodles in a rich, flavorful broth topped with local ingredients like crab or scallops.
  • Saury: A popular fish in Abashiri, saury is often grilled or served as sashimi.
  • Hokkai-don: A rice bowl topped with a variety of fresh seafood, including sea urchin, salmon roe, and crab.
  • Soft-Serve Ice Cream: Abashiri is famous for its unique flavors of soft-serve ice cream, including drift ice and local fruit flavors.

Events and Festivals

Abashiri hosts several exciting events and festivals throughout the year. Some of the notable ones include:

  • Abashiri Lake Tofutsu Ice Festival (February): This festival showcases beautiful ice sculptures and offers various winter activities like ice skating and snowmobiling.
  • Okhotsk Sea Ice Festival (March): Visitors can enjoy ice fishing, traditional performances, and a fireworks display over the frozen sea.
  • Pokkari Market (Year-Round): A lively local market where you can shop for fresh seafood, local produce, and handmade crafts.


Abashiri offers a range of accommodation options to suit every budget and preference. From luxury hotels with stunning sea views to cozy guesthouses and traditional Japanese ryokans, you'll find a place to relax and unwind after a day of exploring. It's recommended to book in advance, especially during peak travel seasons.

This is just a taste of what Abashiri has to offer. Whether you're a nature lover, history enthusiast, or foodie, this charming town will captivate your senses with its unique blend of culture and traditions. Plan your trip to Abashiri today and embark on an unforgettable adventure in northern Japan!