Abashiri () is a small city on the northern coast of Hokkaido, Japan.
Today's Abashiri is an unattractive modern town filled with the implements and smells of its largest industry, fishing.
By planeThe nearest airport is Memanbetsu, 16 km south of Abashiri. Buses connect to the train station before and after flights (25 minutes, ¥880).
By trainAbashiri is the terminus of the JR Sekihoku Line (石北本線) from Asahikawa and a junction of the Senmo Line (釧網本線) to Kushiro via Akan National Park.
Four Limited Express trains run daily: Two Okhotsk services to/from Sapporo (5 hr 30 min, ¥9910), and two Taisetsu services to/from Asahikawa (4 hr, ¥7970, change at Asahikawa for Sapporo). There is no charge for these services with the Japan Rail Pass.
By busNight buses from Sapporo (around ¥8000) are the cheapest way to get to Abashiri. Buses arrive and depart from Abashiri Bus Terminal, a short walk east from JR Abashiri Station.
Abashiri is fairly spread out. A network of buses radiates out from JR Abashiri Station.
Abashiri Prison MuseumThe original buildings of the infamous prison, but moved halfway up Mt. Tento to free up some real estate. Inside are wax dolls of prisoners and a hair-raising array of shackles and other prison paraphernalia.
Museum of Northern PeoplesA modern and moderately interesting museum documenting the lives of northern peoples around the world, not just Japan's own Ainu, but Canadian Inuit, Scandinavian Saami and many more. Most of the material is also in English and there are some fairly bizarre exhibits involving, among other things, seal intestines.
Okhotsk Ryūhyō MuseumA museum devoted to pack ice, a common phenomenon in the Okhotsk Sea but for some reason a subject of fascination among the Japanese. Here you will learn all you ever wanted to know and more about pack ice, and even get a chance to touch some in a room kept at -15 degrees C (5 degrees F) (coats provided).
address: 網走市南3条東4丁目5の1In winter, when the famed pack ice has surrounded the town, you can hop aboard this boat for a one-hour tour of the stuff up close and personal.
Being a fishing port, the thing to eat here is fresh seafood, particularly crab. There's a morning market (網走感動朝市) with great selection.
Abashiri BeerLike every other city in Hokkaido, Abashiri has its own microbrew. The brewery is open to visitors and also serves lunch and dinner.
address: Meiji 22-6Offers good views of the Okhotsk Sea.
- Shiretoko National Park, to the east, is one of Japan's best yet least visited national parks.
- Akan National Park, to the south, is known for its three mysterious lakes.
- The onsen village of Utoro in Shari is popular with onsen lovers.