Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Hokkaido Winter 2013 北海道冬季之旅 - Discover the New Northern Continent! Attaka Abashiri 北の新大陸発見!あったか網走

Visited 07.02.2013
Year 2013: 23.01.2013 - 03.03.2014
Year 2014: 25.01.2014 - 02.03.2014

Under the sub zero temperatures in winter, a large portion of Lake Abashiri becomes frozen and this additional area is transformed to a "playground" suitable for all ages. Apart from drift ice sightseeing in Okhotsk Sea, "Discover the New Northern Continent! Attaka Abashiri" held on Lake Abashiri is the next largest scale winter event held in Abashiri.

Do you know? A "Drift Ice Festival (流氷まつり)" is held in Abashiri Port over a period of 3 - 4 days (typically over a weekend). This festival showcases numerous snow and ice sculptures created by volunteers. Another important activity carried out during this festival is the parade to worship the drift ice shrine. Did not get to participate in this festival as it fell on the same period as Sapporo Snow Festival.



Don't underestimate this long ice slide!
- Mid-sized snow sculptures featuring adorable anime/cartoon characters are popular photo taking spots in the event venue. The ice slides were more thrilling (and fun) than I thought. The gradient at the beginning is actually quite steep and the almost frictionless surface can generate decent speed down the slide. Pick up a board which you will sit on before climbing up the stairs to the top of ice slide. In comparison, the adjacent snow tube slide is milder and less exciting. Enjoyed several trips down the slides as there were no queues in the morning.

Horse sleighs available in the event venue (600 yen for adult, 300 yen for child) 
- Many snow activities can be tried out here. Every activity appeared to be interesting to me, especially this being my first winter/snow experience. Choose the activity you want to participate in and purchase a ticket from the booth. Sat on a sled which was pulled by a snowmobile and went one round on the frozen lake (300 yen/pax); ride was slower than expected. Other activities include banana boat ride (pulled by snowmobile as well), riding on snowmobiles or 4-wheels buggies, sitting on horse sleighs, etc.

Left: Soy sauce soup base ramen; Right: Abashiri Milk
- Had our lunch in the cafeteria that was set up in a tentage. Stall sold simple dishes such as ramen and curry rice. A good place to warm your bodies and fill up the hungry stomachs.

Smelt fishing on frozen Lake Abashiri
- One can also experience smelt fishing on the frozen Lake Abashiri (need to walk further downwards, closer to Hotel Abashirikoso). After paying for the fishing fees and equipment rental (fishing rod and bait), select a spot and the staff will assist to drill a hole through the ice. Extend your fishing line into the hole and wait for the smelts to feed on the bait. The smelts can be savored immediately by deep frying them in oil fryers which are made available in the event venue.


Discover the New Northern Continent! Attaka Abashiri 北の新大陸発見!あったか網走
Opening hours: 0900 - 1630 hrs; 1900 - 2100 hrs
Event venue: Lake Abashiri

View Discover the New Northern Continent! Attaka Abashiri in a larger map


How to get there?

(1) Taxi: approx 1,500 yen from Abashiri JR Station.

(2) Bus:
From Abashiri JR Station Bus Stop 2, take either
- Memanbetsu Airport Bus, or
- Bihoro line Bus (美幌行),
Alight at Abashiri Kankou Hotel.
Bus timetable:



Winter related activities in Abashiri was featured in Taiwanese travel programme 《爱玩客》.
(1) Fast forward to 02:45 for highlights from "Discover the New Northern Continent! Attaka Abashiri" event.

(2) Fast forward to 18:00 for smelt fishing on Lake Abashiri.

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