Memanbetsu is one of the major airports in Eastern Hokkaido. It has good access to the magnificent nature around, such as the sea of Okhotsk with drift ice, the beautiful peninsula of Shiretoko and Notsuke, and vast fields in snow. Each spot is about 2 hours drive at the longest from the airport so that you can arrange your trip easily starting and ending at Memanbetsu.
Icebreaking Ship Sunset Cruise
Cruising tour to see drift ice and wild animals is one of the most popular activities in winter Okhotsk. Among the tours organized a few times a day with icebreaking ship Aurora, sunset cruise has an overwhelming appeal. A ship with two stories plus a deck on top depart on an hour excursion from a port in Abashiri. As the ship advances, the drift ice becomes larger, and you can see sea eagle seals resting on the ice if you are lucky enough. The sky gradually changes its color from deep blue to orange, and the ice of the sea shines like jewelry. It is nice to see dynamic drift ice a few meters close from the lowest deck as well as enjoy the gradation of sky and sea from the top deck. Observing drift ice from a ship is something you would want to experience at least once in life.
Minami 3, Higashi 4-5-1, Abashiri city, Hokkaido Roadside station (Ryuhyo Highway)
Notsuke peninsula, located in between Shiretoko peninsula and Nemuro peninsula, is a sandbank shaped like a shrimp. Inner bay of Notsuke gets completely frozen in winter time where you can walk on. The sunrise of Notsuke, which is the second earliest in Japan, comes from the ice horizon, and it is famous for its unique shapes. Sometimes it becomes square shaped, and other times it looks like a wine glass. When you visit Notsuke in the early morning to see the sunrise, you will be surprised by its richness of nature. Dozens of Hokkaido deer are eating grass, and the wood makes original ecosystems. Notsuke peninsula has not been featured a lot, but the beauty is worth visiting.
New Dairy Rural Observatory
The vast plains of eastern Hokkaido get covered with pure white snow in winter. Walking in the middle of them is very relaxing, but it is also nice to have a wide panorama from an observation tower. New Dairy Rural Observatory located in Betsukai town suddenly appears in the snowy fields. The 10 meters tall tower is on the top of a 40 meters hill so that it has an amazing view from the top. If it is sunny, you can see from the mountains in the Akan area to the sea. It is all white in 360 degrees and is so shiny that you may need sunglasses. This is a perfect place to enjoy the winter scenery of Hokkaido.
Betsukai, Notsuke District, Hokkaido