The Sea of Okhotsk is covered with drift ice in winter. Water flowing from the Amur River in Siberia freezes when it meets the frigid ocean. The ice starts out thin and gradually grows into floes by the time it reaches the Okhotsk coast to cover the sea with pristine ice. In Mombetsu, the phenomenon can be usually seen from late January to mid-March.
Hokkaido Okhotsk Mombetsu City – Drift Ice The Great Mombetsu Experience
Garinko-go II (Mokkaido heritage attraction)
Drift ice tourism has turned a winter plague from the sea of Okhotsk into a real blessing. Mombetsu named the icebreaker (originally designed for oil development in Alaska). Garinko-go with its brilliant red body and two Archimedean screws, it was designated a Hokkaido heritage attraction in Nov, 2004.
The Hokkaido Heritage
The Hokkaido heritage is the treasure of all Hokkaido residents, the tangble and intangble assets to be passed on to the next generation. Those assets were selected by Hokkaido people from such categories as the abundant natural surroundings of Hokkaido, the history and culture of Hokkaido people, local life styles, and industries.
Garinko-go II – Fishing during summer
How about fishing on the Garinko-go? Equipment rental, bait, refrigerated fish delivery — flatfish fishing can be easily enjoyed! Season: May – Dec Fishing at 7:00 (4hrs.): Jun. — Sept. Cruise at 11:30 (30 min.): May – Dec. Fishing at 12:30 ( 3hrs.): Jun. – Sept.
Fishing at 7:00 (5 hrs.): 1st-3rd Sat, Sun, and Holiday of October
Ticket: Cruise (ca. 30 min.): Adult ¥ 1,500, Child ¥750 Fishing (3 hrs.): ¥3,600 Fishing (4 hrs.): ¥4,800 Fishing (5 hrs.): ¥6,000 Fishing companion: Adult ¥ 1,500, Child ¥750
Rental fishing rod ¥500 / bait (salted eunice-worms) ¥600 / rod & bait ¥1000
- Reservations required for all cruises.
- May, Nov., & Dec: Inquire in advance
- All cruises for min. 10 persons. Please inquire.
- Tickets (One space, one fishing rod)
- Only one fishing rod per space is allowed.
Mombetsu Port Festival Fireworks Cruise
Enjoy the area’s biggest fireworks festival from Okhotsk sea (4th Sat of July)
Garinko-go II – Cruising during Winter
Absolutely dynamic! Experience the ice floes as two drills are employed! Exotic colors swirling up from ice floes and seawater, with crunched ice floes surfacing from beneath the boat — very thrilling!!
Season: Jan. 20 – Mar. 31
|Cruise||Departure||Period of operation|
|Sunrise cruise||6:00||Jan. — Feb.|
|Cruise 2||9:00||Jan. — Mar.|
|Cruise 3||10:30||Jan. – Mar.|
|Cruise 4||12:00||Jan. – Mar.|
|Cruise 5||13:30||Jan. – Mar.|
|Cruise 6||15:00||Jan. — Mar.|
|Sunset cruise||16:10||Jan. — Feb.|
Note: Reservations required for all cruises.
All cruises for min. 10 persons. Please inquire.
New Year’s Day sunrise cruise
Start your year with your first dream of the year… on the ocean, (departs at 6:30).
Reservations Summer: 2 months before the cruise (May – Dec.)
Winter: 3 months before the cruise (Jan. – Mar.)
Okhotsk Tower (Underwater Drift Ice Observatory)
The Sea ice observation Okhotsk Tower, rising about 1 km offshore amid the splendor of the Sea of Okhotsk, is the ultimate in underwater observation. It is the world’s first sea ice underwater observation tower: you can view ice floes from 38.5 m. above the water, and from the ocean bottom, 7.5 m. deep, and observe the various habitates that marine creatures display throughout the year.
Open at night in summer: Spotlighted fish are bright in the dark sea, creating a fantastic atmosphere. Enjoy to its fullest the beauty that makes you forget the passage of time.
1st floor Okhotsk Hall
After seeing the ice floes below while crossing the trans-sea bridge, you arrive at Okhotsk Hall. There, easy-to-understand panels describe the construction of the Okhotsk Tower, and its original purpose. Many special Mombetsu souvenirs (local products, etc.) are available at the shop and reception.
2nd floor Observation Hall
Besides giving an introduction to the ice floes, the facilities offer specially conducted observations for sea ice research. Technical equipment is set up to unlock, right before your eyes, the mystery of the ice floes! The display room offers information about the ocean and its observation, and the Ice Floe Theater offers true-to-life visual displays.
3rd floor Panorama Hall
You have a 360 degree view of the Sea of Okhotsk. On a fine day, the Shiretoko Peninsula may be seen. Or you may see, in winter, an ice floe mirage just above the ocean.
Lower basement Aqua Gate
This sea bottom observation floor is 7.5 meters deep. Owing to the abundance of plankton, the sea water looks cloudy through the windows all year round. Fish from the northern ocean, such as Bering wolffish and tidepool gunnel, are displayed in water tanks. Eumicrotremus taranetzi and Sea Angel (the “ice floe angel”) are especially popular!
Open: 10:00—17:00 Special evening hours: 4th Fri. of July — 3rd Sat. of Aug. Special Event: 1st Sat. of Aug Tower Festival: 1st Sun. of Nov. Closing dates Facilities maintenance: from 4th Mon. of Dec. until year end New Year’s holiday: Dec. 27th – 31 st, Jan. 2nd & 3rd New Year’s Day hours (6:00~l0:00) Admission fees: Adult (middle school student and up): ¥800, Child (grade school student): ¥400, Child (preschool): free.
- Visitors are admitted up to 1 /2 hour before closing.
- They provide free transportation by electric-powered car. Ask for it at the Garinko station
- The tower may be closed due to other maintenance needs or to bad weather.
- Group admission fees apply for groups of over 10 people.
- No pets allowed.
Okhotsk Garinko And Tower Company Limited Mombetsu Fishing Port 1 Kaiyokoen, Monbetsu City (Monbetsu-shi), Hokkaido 094-0031 , Japan Tel. (0158)24-8000, 0158-23-1100
Okhotsk Sea Ice Museum of Hokkaido (Okhotsk drift ice Science Center) – GIZA Even if drift ice is not seen, real drift ice can also be seen and touched at the intense-cold experience room of 20 below the freezing point degrees of this institution. 11-6 Motomonbetsu, Monbetsu City (Monbetsu-shi), Hokkaido Prefecture 094-0023, Japan Tel: 0158-23-5400 Fax: 0158-23-9844
Drift ice Sightseeing Icebreaker Ship – GARINKO 1 Kaiyokoen, Monbetsu City (Monbetsu-shi), Hokkaido Prefecture 094-0031, Japan (opposite the Okhotsk Tokkari Center) Tel: (0158)-24-8000 Fax: (0158)-24-4040
Okhotsk Tokkari Center
Meet the lovely seals in all seasons. Interested in interacting with seals up close At feeding times (5 times a day), you can touch the seals. About 30 seals, such as Gamafu seals (harbor seals) popular in Okhotsk, are swimming cheerfully in the huge pool. As they show their charming performances, be sure to check the feeding time in advance. You can also enjoy the cute tricks they perform!
Feeding Time: 1st 10:30, 2nd 11:30, 3rd 13:30, 4th 14:30, 5th 15:00. Open: 9:00AM-5:00PM
Price: Adults ¥200, Kids ¥100 (seal food, etc., funds)
- Before each feeding, there is about 10 minutes of explanation.
- Admission to the seal area is limited to 30 people at a time.
- Admission fees are used for food and medicine for the seals.
- Inquire about the New Year’s holiday schedule.
- No pets allowed.
- No food, no drinks.
- No smoking.
- Infants must be accompanied by adults.
- Schedule may be changed due to the seals health conditions, or other reasons.
Okhotsk Tokkari Center Address: 5 Motomombetsu, Monbetsu City (Monbetsu-shi), 094-0023
By air Haneda Airport (Tokyo) ↔ Okhotsk Mombetsu Airport ca. 1 hr. 45 min.
Shuttle buses connect Okhotsk Mombetsu Airport and the city.(via Garinko station)
By local bus Asahikawa → Mombetsu (ca. 3 hrs.) Nayoro → Mombetsu (ca. 2 hrs.) Engaru → Mombetsu (ca. 1 hr.)
Sapporo → Mombetsu (ca. 4 hrs. 40 min.)
By intercity bus Sapporo ↔ Asahikawa ↔ Mombetsu By Ryuhyo-Mombetsu-Go and Okhotsk-Go Express . Schedule information available at Mombetsu bus terminal.
Tel: 0158-24-8234 (Reservation between 6:30 and 18:00)
Monbetsu Tourism Association: Tel. (0158) 24-3900 Monbetsu Tourism Division City Hall: Tel. (0158) 24-2111 Okhotsk icy tower observation tower: Tel. (0158) 23-1100 Monbetsu Okhotsk Road Station (opposite bus terminal Monbetsu), Monbetsu City Development Corporation Tel: 0158-23-1141, Yu Tokkari Monbetsu Yukemuri Onsen (Hot Spring Spa): Tel. 0158-24-1726 Fax: 0158-23-1151 Coast Guard Monbetsu (Monbetsu Maritime Safety Agency): Tel. 0158-23-0118
Monbetsu City (Monbetsu-shi) Website: http://www.mombetsu.jp/english/index.html
Abashiri Drift Ice Sightseeing Icebreaker Cruise Ship – Aurora Doutou Kanko Kaihatsu (Corporation) Roadside station (Ryuhyo Highway) Minami 3, Higashi 4-5-1, Abashiri city, Hokkaido 093-0003 Tel: 81-152-43-6000 Fax: 81-152-43-6200
KITAMI Reagion Museum of Science History and Art 1 Koencho, Kitami, Hokkaido Prefecture 090-0015, Japan Tel: 0157-23-6700 Fax: 0157-31-8344