Discover drift ice and fantastic scenery
Mombetsu is a charming coastal town located in Hokkaido, japan. It is most famous for the fabled drift ice that bears down on its secluded shores every winter. This natural phenomenon attracts visitors from all over the world who are eager to witness the breathtaking beauty of the ice floes floating southwards. With its own icebreaker boat tours, Mombetsu offers a unique and unforgettable experience for those seeking a different kind of adventure.
How to Get There
Traveling to Mombetsu is relatively easy, thanks to its well-connected transportation infrastructure. The most convenient way to reach the town is by flying to Okhotsk Mombetsu Airport directly from Tokyo. This allows visitors to save time and avoid the hassle of multiple transfers. For those who prefer a more scenic journey, there are also buses available from Sapporo, which take approximately five and a half hours, or from Asahikawa, which take around three and a half hours. Whichever mode of transportation you choose, the journey to Mombetsu is sure to be filled with stunning landscapes and picturesque views.
The Wonders of Drift Ice
Mombetsu is one of the best places in the world to witness the incredible spectacle of drift ice. From late January to early March, the Sea of Okhotsk becomes a frozen wonderland, as massive ice floes float southwards, creating a mesmerizing display of nature’s grandeur. One of the most popular activities in Mombetsu is taking a cruise on the Garinko III IMERU icebreaker ship. This unique vessel is equipped with an Archimedean Screw mounted on the bow, which allows it to break through the ice effortlessly. Passengers on board can feel the vibrations as the ship plows through the frozen sea, adding an extra thrill to the experience. The cruise offers stunning views of the ice floes, as well as the opportunity to spot various wildlife, such as cliones (translucent sea snails commonly known as “sea angels”), white-tailed and Steller’s sea eagles, and seals. It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will leave you in awe of the wonders of nature.
Even if you visit Mombetsu in the summer, you can still learn about drift ice at the Okhotsk Sea Ice Science Center. This educational facility provides visitors with a deeper understanding of the formation and significance of drift ice. You can explore interactive exhibits, watch informative videos, and even experience the sensation of being surrounded by real drift ice in a specially chilled chamber. It is a fascinating opportunity to learn about this natural phenomenon and its impact on the surrounding environment.
While You’re in the Area
Aside from the mesmerizing drift ice, Mombetsu offers a range of other attractions for visitors to enjoy. One must-visit destination is the Okhotsk Tokkari Center, a hospital for injured seals. Here, you can witness the adorable sight of these marine creatures being cared for and rehabilitated. It is a heartwarming experience that allows you to connect with nature and learn about the conservation efforts being made to protect these animals.
For nature enthusiasts, a drive along the coast of Mombetsu is highly recommended. In the summer, you will be treated to a vibrant array of native seaside flowers, creating a picturesque scene that is perfect for photography. In the winter, the frozen landscape of drift ice hugging the shore is a sight to behold. The contrast between the icy sea and the surrounding snow-covered mountains is truly breathtaking. Additionally, you can visit the secluded Lake Komuke or the Omusaro Genseikaen wildflower garden, located on either side of Mombetsu, for the best views of the natural beauty that Hokkaido has to offer.
Mombetsu is a hidden gem in Hokkaido, offering visitors a unique and unforgettable experience. Whether you come to witness the drift ice in winter or explore the stunning landscapes in summer, this coastal town has something for everyone. From the exhilarating icebreaker boat tours to the heartwarming encounters with seals, Mombetsu is a place where nature takes center stage. So, if you’re looking for an extraordinary adventure that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime, make sure to include Mombetsu in your travel itinerary. You won’t be disappointed.
(Note: The information provided in this article is subject to change due to COVID-19 restrictions and regulations. Please check for the latest updates before planning your trip.)
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