Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum

Ryuhyo is the Japanese word for Drift Ice - blocks of ice that are carried along by the winds and sea currents from colder climates. The Okhotsk coastline in eastern Hokkaido is the southernmost point in all of the northern hemisphere that you can see drift ice, and indeed the only place to experience it in all of Japan. The drift ice along the Okhotsk coast comes all the way from the Amur River in Russia, some 1,200 km away. It usually arrives during January and February and can be seen right up until March or April, when spring begins.

Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum

If you’re lucky enough to be in eastern Hokkaido during this time there are various ways one can enjoy the drift ice, including boats tours that cut through it, and even walking tours that involve walking atop the huge slabs of ice as they float in the ocean. If however, you’re in the area any other time of year, you can still experience drift ice, albeit man made, and learn all about it at the Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum in Abashiri City.

Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum

This small museum has several interesting interactive experiences that teach you about drift ice and allow you to experience it first hand. These include a multifaceted cinema screen that plays a short film in both English and Japanese explaining the phenomena of drift ice in Hokkaido and where it comes from, a projection-mapping show inspired by the drift ice cycle that is displayed across an entire wall.

Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum

There is also a walk-in cold room, maintained at a constant -15 degrees centigrade, that provides visitors with the opportunity to touch large chunks of manmade drift ice. The hands-on experience of carrying a wet towel into the cold room and having it freeze almost immediately is also popular with visitors.

Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum

As well as all of the above there are information displays, sadly in Japanese only at this time, and a set of small aquarium tanks with fish that live beneath drift ice waters, including cliones, balloon lumpfish and Taranetz’s lumpsuckers.

Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum

Once you are done with the museum, you can head upstairs to an observatory that affords great panoramic views over Abashiri City and out to sea in the direction the drift ice comes from. There is also a permanent photography exhibition, a small café and a restaurant that serves a variety of meals and alcoholic and soft drinks.

Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum

The Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum is open from 8:30am to 6:00pm in the summer months, between May and October, and between 9:00am and 4:30pm during the winter months, between November and April. During the new-year holiday, from December 29th and January 5th the museum operates from 10:00am to 3:00pm. Entrance fees are 750 yen for adults and 540 yen for children.

The Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum is situated approximately 5km from JR Abashiri train station, it can then be reached by taxi or bus leaving from Abashiri bus terminal. There is also car parking for those with their own cars.

Facility Name
Abashiri
Address
Hokkaido Abashirishi Shinmachi 3-chome
Information Sources:
NAVITIME JAPAN
Facility Name
Okhotsk Ryu-hyo Museum
Address
Hokkaido Abashirishi Tentozan 244-3
Phone
0152435951
Hours
[May-Oct.] 8:30-18:00 (Last entry 17:30)
[Nov.-Apr.] 9:00-16:30 (Last entry 16:00)
[12/29-1/5] 10:00-15:00 (last entry 14:30)
Closed
open everyday
Fees
[Entrance fee] yen Adults750, High School Students640 yen, small Junior High School Students540 yen
Parking Lot
Available (150 spaces)
Credit Card
No
Introduction
Okhotsk Ryu-hyo Museum, which is located on Tentozan in Abashiri City, is a tourist facility based on drift ice and the creatures who live in the Sea of Okhotsk. Okhotsk Ryu-hyo Museum has the biggest projection mapping in Hokkaido and displays the mysterious creatures such as the clione which live in the Sea of Okhotsk. The high-definition five-screen theater which includes a 300-inch screen is also impressive. One very popular experience is freezing a wet towel when touching the ice directly on the drift ice simulation terrace. At the highest observation terrace, 360-degree panoramic views are an amazing sight and have been designated as a Place of Scenic Beauty since 1938.
Information Sources:
NAVITIME JAPAN

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  • dummy image

    Abashiri

    Station
    Hokkaido Abashirishi Shinmachi 3-chome
  • Okhotsk Ryu-hyo Museum image

    Okhotsk Ryu-hyo Museum

    Museum/Science museum
    Hokkaido Abashirishi Tentozan 244-3
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