Abashiri (網走) is the historical and cultural heart of Okhotsk Region. In 1890 the town has set up the prison for dissidents, political prisoners and criminals. They spent in the solitary confinement and worked for the road construction.
The town has varied museums, lakes and places to stay, which makes it an ideal place for explore. In winter most tourists take an icebreaker into the frozen sea.
You can jump off from here to the Shiretoko Peninsula or the lake Saroma-ko.
The city center stretches east from the train station to the port along Abashiri-gawa. A 1.7km-long riverside promenade runs from the north side of JR Abashiri Station to the Michi-no-eki Ryuhyokaido Abashiri with an icebreaker port.
Abashiri Prison Museum
7min by sightseeing bus from Abashiri Station
This grand-scaleopen-air museum has 25 historical and reconstructed buildings from Abashiri Prison, that includes wooden prison houses, a courthouse, administration building, lecture hall and bathhouse. The penological museum shows a virtual movie, with old artifacts and a reproduced present isolation cell.
12min by sightseeing bus from Abashiri Station
The world’s only scientific sea ice museum has displays on lumps of ryuhyo (drift ice) and frozen local fishes in the -20C ‘cold experience room’. It also has numerous exhibits of sea ice, models and clione (sea slugs). A newly renovated astrovision shows a sea ice film with English subtitles.
Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples
14min by sightseeing bus from Abashiri Station
Built at the tip of the breakwater promenade, this offshore tower has an underground observation windows showcasing life under the sea, with live fish in tanks. You will be able to see drift ice in winter. The Okhotsk Theater offers a 360 degrees 3D short playing.
Drift Icebreaker Aurora
8min by sightseeing bus from Abashiri Station / 10min walk from Katsuradai Station
Abashiri’s most popular winter attraction, the drift icebreaker Aurora runs several daily cruises into the Sea of Okhotsk from mid January to late March. One-hour cruises depart from the Michi-no-eki Ryuhyo Kaido Abashiri.
Abashiri Municipal Museum
25min walk from Abashiri Station / 10min walk from Katsuradai Station
Located in an imposing 1936 building on the old Ainu fort, this municipal museum traces local history with an engaging mix of cultural artifacts from the Paleolithic Age, 300 species of birds and staffed local animals.
Moyoro Shell Mound Museum
23min walk from Abashiri Station
On the mouth of Abashiri-gawa, Moyoro was a site of fishing settlement about 1300 years ago. This museum has archaeological finds, shell mounds, a cemetery and an exhibit on the history of the Okhotsk Culture (5th- to 9th-century). There are also sites of dwellings and cemeteries on the ground.
There are many sleeping options in Abashiri, from the city center to the west on the shore of Abashiri-ko. Most budget small hotels and minshuku are conveniently located around JR Abashiri Station.
Dormy Inn Abashiri
12min walk from Abashiri Station / 3min walk from Abashiri bus terminal
Central Abashiri’s most modern hotel on a river bank, Dormy Inn has bright and functional rooms, with a top-floor onsen overlooking the town. Breakfast is extra ¥1500. It is a little east of JR Abashiri Station, but easily accessed on foot from the bus terminal.
Hotel Abashiriko-so ♨︎
Take a free shuttle from Abashiri Station
In a wonderful place overlooking the lake, this large onsen hotel on a pleasant shore has spacious and disabled-friendly rooms. A free shuttle to/from Abashiri Station is available.
For Abashiri, there are a couple of limited express trains Okhotsk running every day from Sapporo (5.5hr). The seasonal limited express train Taisetsu running from Asahikawa (3hr 40min).
From Abashiri, the JR Senmo Line runs south to Kushiro (3.5hr) via Shiretoko-Shari (40min). Katsuradai (桂台), one stop east of Abashiri, is the nearest station to the drift icebreaker Aurora terminal and Abashiri Municipal Museum.
Abashiri terminal (網走ターミナル) is 1km east of JR Abashiri Station. Most of all the highway, airport and local buses stop at JR Abashiri Station.
The highway bus Dreamint Okhotsk-go services between Sapporo and Abashiri (5hr 50min). Compulsory reservation.
Memanbetsu Airport (女満別空港) is located in Ozora Town, about 20km south of Abashiri. Airport shuttle buses, timed to meet all flights, run to Abashiri (35min).
Abashiri Bus (網走バス) runs a bus network in the city. All buses pause at Abashiri terminal.
The Tourist Attractions Sightseeing Line (市内観光施設めぐり) runs from Abashiri terminal stop 3 to the Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples (extends to the Hana Tento garden on Tento-zan in summer and autumn), stopping at the main sights include the Prison Museum and the Okhotsk Ryuhyokan. From 20 January to 31 March, buses depart and arrive at the Michi-no-eki Ryuhyo Kaido Abashiri via the bus terminal.
Rental bicycles are available from the Michi-no-eki Ryuhyo Kaido Abashiri (道の駅流氷街道網走), in the same building as the Aurora icebreaker port at the mouth of Abashiri-gawa.
Abashiri Station Tourist Information Center
If you are arrive in Abashiri by train, check out this helpful tourist desk inside the train station, with brochures and maps. English-speaking staff can help you find accommodation.
網走 | 아바시리
Address：3-1 Shin-machi, Abashiri-shi, Hokkaido
Distance：237km from Asahikawa