Drift ice (Ryuhyo) cruise
In Abashiri city, ryuhyo (drift ice) on the horizon comes into sight around late January.
It is assumed that the distance is around 20 km from the coast.
Then, the ryuhyo moves toward the coast, and reaches to the coast around early February.
The ryuhyo begins to leave from the coast in March, then all ryuhyo disapper in late March or early April.
To see such ryuhyo on the sea, ryuhyo cruise ships are operated.
Cruise from Abashiri
The ship Aurora
Ryuhyo from the ship
Photo by Abashiri Tourism Association
The ship named "Aurora" is operated from late January to the end of March.
This ship travels on the sea covered with ryuhyo by breaking the ice using the heavy weight of the ship.
It is operated 4 or 5 times a day and you can enjoy the sea of ryuhyo for an hour.
The port is located at the north part of the city area and near the mouth of Abashiri River.
To this port, route buses are operated from Abashiri station and Memanbetsu airport.
Cruise from Monbetsu
The ship Garinko-II
The part of drill
Monbetsu is a small city located about 80 km west-northwest of Abashiri and faces to the Okhotsk Sea.
This city has also the interesting Ryuhyo cruise ship.
The ship named "Garinko-II" is operated from late January to the end of March like Aurora in Abashiri.
This unique ship travels on the sea covered with ryuhyo by breaking the ice using huge drills.
The name of "Garinko" comes from the sound that the drills shave the ice.
("-II" means the second ship after the retired first ship.)
It is operated 5 times a day and you can enjoy the sea of ryuhyo for an hour.
And there are the operations at sunrise and sunset.
The port is in "Kaiyo-Koen" (Sea Park) facing the sea located at the south part of the city area.
And it is located about 4 km from Monbetsu Airport.
Monbetsu has no railway line, so express buses are operated from Sapporo, Asahikawa.
And the shuttle bus is operated from Monbetsu Airport.
These buses arrive at Monbetsu Bus Terminal in the center of the city.
Then, the shuttle bus between Monbetsu Bus Terminal and the port is operated from late January and the end of February.
In March, taxi is convenient. (The distance is about 3 km.)