As its name suggests, this idyllic northeastern region lies along the Sea of Okhotsk. The almost flat shoreline contains Japan’s biggest lagoon, pleasant brackish lakes and wildflower gardens. Roughly around February, pure white ryuhyo (drift ice) from the mouth of Amur River occasionally covers the sea. Two of Okhotsk’s port cities serve as icebreakers and interesting museums. Further inland is splashed with forested landscapes, relaxed onsen, woodworking studios, phlox and tulip gardens.
TO DO 01
Discovering the Cultural Port Town Abashiri
Abashiri is the historical and cultural heart of Okhotsk Region. Visiting the varies museums and take a drift icebreaker to the sea in Okhotsk Region’s tourist-friendly city.
TO DO 02
Getting Around Koshimizu & Tofutsu-ko
There are several brackish lakes and lovely countrysides surrounding Abashiri, you could spend a few days making day trips out of the city.
TO DO 03
Wandering Around Saroma-ko
Limitless and spread out, Saroma-ko (152-sq-km) is Japan’s biggest lagoon. Watching the impressive sun rise and set on the pleasant lakeside accommodation, then taste local kaki (oysters) and hotate (scallops).
TO DO 04
Enjoying Peppermint Flavor & Yakiniku in Kitami
Hokkaido’s widest city makes a convenient stopover point for the beautiful lakes of Chimikeppu-ko, Saroma-ko and Akan-ko. Checking out the peppermint history and the yakiniku places.
TO DO 05
Stopping By Onneyu Onsen en Route from Daisetsuzan
After passing through the dynamic Sekihoku Pass on Route 39 from Daisetsuzan National Park, Onneyu is a popular onsen village to break up a journey for Kitami or Akan-ko.
TO DO 06
Soaking Up Colorful Flowers & Onsen Around Engaru
The forested town of Engaru functions as a useful transport hub for access to Monbetsu. Take a dip in the tranquil onsen or visit the picturesque flower gardens.
TO DO 07
Admiring Sea Ice & Lovely Seals in Monbetsu
Most travelers come here to take an ice breaker cruise and meet seals in winter. The Gariya Zone waterfront district is the highlight of Monbetsu.
GETTING THERE & AROUND
TRAIN: Abashiri is the end of the JR Sekihoku Line and connects to the JR Senmo Line, which runs south to Kushiro (5 daily / 3.5hrs / ¥4070) via Shiretoko-Shari (7 daily / 40min / ¥970).
For Abashiri, there are a couple of limited express trains Okhotsk running from Sapporo (5.5hrs / ¥10,010) and the two seasonal limited express trains Taisetsu running from Asahikawa (3hrs 40min / ¥8030).
If you save money, there is a rapid train from Asahikawa to Kitami (3hrs 20min / ¥4510), stopping at Engaru.
BUS: The Dreamint Okhotsk-go (ドリーミントオホーツク号) services between Sapporo and Abashiri (8 daily incl a night bus / 5hrs 50min / ¥6510) via Kitami.
Hokuto Kotsu operates the night bus Chitose Okhotsk Express from Abashiri to New Chitose Airport (8hrs / ¥6500) via Kitami (versa vice is a daytime bus).
Local bus journey from Kitami to Obihiro via Ikeda (in Tokachi Region), require a change in Rikubetsu (6-7 daily / 1.5hrs / ¥1580).