Thursday, October 17, 2013

Hokkaido Winter 2013 北海道冬季之旅 - Shiretoko-shari JR Station 知床斜里駅

Shiretoko-shari JR Station (B72), on Senmo main line.
Ryuhyo Norokko Train commutes between Abashiri and Shiretoko-shari train stations during winter season.

Note: There are no lifts and escalators in this train station.
This train station was last renovated in 2007 which explains its modern looking features.


What's nearby?

(1) Shari Bus Terminal: local buses (Shiretoko line, 知床线) bound for Shiretoko National Park, Utoro Onsen and Rausu, and airport bus bound for Memenbetsu Airport.
Shiretoko line bus schedule:
Airport bus schedule:

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Commemorative stamps: 

Hokkaido Winter 2013 北海道冬季之旅 - Day 4 Itinerary: Abashiri 網走

Day 4 - 06.02.2013

Breakfast: Shiretoko Grand Hotel Kitakobushi

Shiretoko Grand Hotel Kitakobushi (0745 hrs) > Shiretoko-shari JR Station (0835 hrs)
via Twinkle Bus Utoro-Shiretoko-shari line.
Fee = 1,000 yen

Shiretoko-shari JR Station (0855 hrs) > Abashiri JR Station (1000 hrs)
by Ryuhyo Norokko Train.
Fee = 1,110 yen (reserved seats)
- Train stopped for 10 mins at Kitahama JR Station.


Check in: Hotel Route Inn Abashiri Ekimae

Abashiri JR Station > Michinoeki Drift Icebreaker Terminal
via Abashiri Tourist Activity Bus. Fee = 130 yen

Boarded Aurora Drift Icebreaker Cruise at 1100 hrs.
Fee = 3,300 yen

Lunch: Restaurant Daihyogen in Abashiri Central Hotel

Abashiri Bus Terminal > Abashiri Prison Museum
via Abashiri Tourist Activity Bus. Fee = 280 yen

Abashiri Prison Museum > Abashiri JR Station
via Abashiri Tourist Activity Bus. Fee = 230 yen

Dinner: Sukiya Restaurant, for beef rice bowl.

- End of Day 4 -

Hokkaido Winter 2013 北海道冬季之旅 - Shiretoko Aurora Fantasia 知床ファンタジア

Visited 05.02.2013
Year 2013: 05.02.2013 - 12.03.2013

Background: This laser light performance is held in Utoro Onsen annually - a major highlight in Hokkaido during the winter season. The aim of this event was to recreate the magical and beautiful Aurora Borealis, which was once spotted over the night skies of Shiretoko Peninsula back in 1958.

Straws were burnt to generate a "smoke-screen" and beams of colourful laser lights were shone into the smokey skyline. Accompanied by music, the dynamic transformations of laser lights created an amazing and stunning display of Aurora in the dark cold night - did intrigue me to see the real Aurora Borealis in future!

Duration of entire performance was about 20 mins. Tickets can be purchased from hotel front desk. As the event venue was less than 5 mins walk from the hotel we stayed in (Shiretoko Grand Hotel Kitakobushi), this event came as a great entertainment after a hearty dinner. Do remember to bring your heat packs and don on extra layers of clothing as weather gets extremely chilly in the night.  

- Ended with sea angel bading farewell -

Shiretoko Aurora Fantasia 知床ファンタジア
斜里町 ウトロ温泉流氷自然公園
Admission Fee = 500 yen
Laser light show starts at 2000 hrs.

より大きな地図で オロンコ岩 を表示


Video: Showcasing a segment of Aurora Fantasia. Credits to Shari Tourism Association. 

Hokkaido Winter 2013 北海道冬季之旅 - Shiretoko Grand Hotel Kitakobushi 知床グランドホテル北こぶし

Stayed 05.02.2013 (1 day)
Booked through Japanican.

- Booked a twin room, inclusive of two meals (dinner and breakfast). Cost 23,520 yen (322 SGD). Was given room which looked out into Okhotsk Sea. Room was very spacious and comfortable. Was warmly welcomed by staffs upon arrival. Warm konbu tea and dried prune were served while waiting for check-in at the lobby.

- One main feature of this hotel is their communal hot spring bathhouse located on the 8th floor, overlooking the vast and magnificent Okhotsk Sea, which is fully covered with drift ice during winter season. Walk up the stairs to access the outdoor hot spring facility - personally preferred the open air one as the indoor one can get humid at times. Towels for usage in the bathhouse are placed in a rattan basket, found in the hotel room. Only sodium chloride hot spring is offered by the hotel.

- Both dinner and breakfast were buffet style. Huge array of food (both Western and Japanese) were provided by the hotel, which made us spoilt for choice. Overall dinning experience was enjoyable.

- Dinner -

- Breakfast -
- Souvenir shops are located on the ground floor of the hotel. Vividly remember that there is Seicomart located just in front of the hotel. Tickets to Aurora Fantasy (laser light show) during the winter season can be purchased directly from the front desk and the event venue is approximately 5 minutes walk from the hotel. Did not manage to explore the area around the hotel as we reached in the evening and had to depart early in the morning. Will love to visit Shiretoko Peninsula again in summer/autumn to explore the national park.

- Limited period Twinkle Bus bound for Utoro Onsen will allow passengers to alight at several major hotels, and this hotel is one of them. Alternatively, take Shari bus (Shiretoko line) from Shari Bus Terminal (beside Shiretoko-shari JR Station) and alight at Utoro Onsen Bus Terminal. Hotel is within a few minutes walk from the bus terminal. Bus schedule:

Recognition: Was featured in Michelin Guide Hokkaido 2012.


Shiretoko Grand Hotel Kitakobushi 知床グランドホテル北こぶし
〒099-4355 北海道斜里郡斜里町ウトロ東172番地

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Commemorative stamp: