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A messenger of winter “drift ice” arrived in Kitami, the hometown of Loco Solare!

Tokoro-town in Kitami-shi is the hometown of Loco Solare Kitami that won a bronze medal at the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics. Drift ice reached to the coast of Eastern Hokkaido including Tokoro-cho this winter.

A messenger of winter, “drift ice” has reached to the Sea of Okhotsk this year. Do you know “drift ice” by the way? Do you think that the ocean is frozen over the winter? Now, I will briefly explain what drift ice of Okhotsk is. First, water of the Amur River flows into the sea of Okhotsk and gets frozen, then it becomes drift ice by being pushed by north wind. Abashiri-shi that is only 1 hour drive from Kitami is famous for drift ice and lots of tourists visit there to enjoy it. Icebreaker Ship “Aurora”is especially popular as you can enjoy watching the ship breaking drift ice.

At the deck, you can hear heavy and dynamic sounds that are made when the ship breaks drift ice. As the ship itself is big, you barely feel vibrations.

You can observe the ship breaking drift ice from the stern!

Sometimes, there are birds and seals on drift ice, so please look for them. As the outside is cold, it is also fun to stay inside of the ship and observe drift ice from there.

Drift ice comes tour town Tokoro-cho, Kitami-shi as well. The easiest place to observe drift ice is “Tokoro Transportation Terminal”. This place is alsi a beach, so you can enjoy swimming in summer, and observing drift ice in winter.

There are many fishermen in this area of the Okhotsk, but they cannot go fishing when drift ice stays on the ocean. They usually keep their ships on land in winter as the ships could get broken by ice. This is also a special scenery that can only be seen in this season of the year.

Drift ice is sightseeing resources and aquatic resources at the same time. It helps the Sea of Okhotsk a full of fishes in spring.

Fishing officially starts at the end of March every year. Crabs caught from the end of March to the beginning of May are especially tasty as they are unloaded before crabs go through ecdysis. Please enjoy this special taste!

There is a facility where you can enjoy curling throughout the year in Tokoro-town. It is fun to curl in a cool arena in hot summer.

Kitami-shi is only one hour drive from Abashiri-shi that is famous for drift ice. Please stop by at Kitami when you enjoy drift ice in this area of Hokkaido!

Comment from Kitami Tourism Association

The city of Kitami is 40 minutes away from Memambetsu Airport by bus. As locals love yakiniku, there are lots of yakiniku restaurants that offer delicious meat in the city. Kitami-shi is a core city of the Okhotsk area in Hokkaido, and has a population of 120,000.

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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