Mombetsu – An exciting ice city in Japan
Located in the freezing Northernmost of Japan, Mombetsu city is honourably named "The unique ice city" of Japan. Let's explore this icy but super warm and cute city ^^
Mombetsu is located only 280km from Sapporo, Hokkaido and nearly 2 hours of flight from the capital of Tokyo. For a person who likes snow, peacefulness, simple things and food like me, this is a destination in the bucket list.
The giant crab claw statue - a symbol of the city
In a chilly ice city like Mombetsu, the giant crab claw with the height of 12m right beside the coast of Okhotsk is revealed as if to bring a really lovely and cosy feeling, as well as lures away the coldness of winter one way or another.
Crabs in Mombetsu are famous for being the most delicious in Japan and are the pride of the city.
The majority of the economy of the city is dependent upon catching sea creatures existing only in cold water sea areas like crabs.
Built above the sea level, Okhotsk Tower, up to 46m high, is the first place to house the world's first underwater observatory that observes icebergs.
Apart from seeing icebergs, visitors can also see many sea creatures because the iceberg watching observatory area is built 10m below sea level. You can observe the icebergs floating on the sea not only from up high but also from underwater as well. How cool is that?!
Moreover, there is a souvenir store on level 1, a cinema on level 2, a 360-degree observatory on level 3, where you can see the road from the sea to Shiretoko Mountain Range on the outdoor balcony with a charming café with a view of the sea.
If you're lucky, you can see the seals far away!
Ice breaker Garinko II
Mombetsu is the city famous for floating icebergs. Because the weather in this area is harsh, the temperature outside from December to February each year is usually below minus 10 degrees celsius, such that the water on the sea surface freezes and forms a thick layer of ice. In summer, ice from Siberia comes then covers a large area of the surface of Okhotsk sea.
To move on the icy ocean, the people here have designed a ship that can move on the sea and break the ice at the same time, namely the ice breaker.
The most famous ice breaker is the Garinko II with 2 giant drills that are almost 10m long at the bow of the ship, enough to break and overcome all icebergs, making it easier for the ship to move forward.
If weather permits, the visitors will get to ride on this unique ice breaker and while seeing the sea, they will have a chance to see the seals dancing on the sea surface or birds flying down to the ship to ask for snacks ^^.
The ship has around 190 seats, operating from late January to late March every year. The ship only sets sail 5 times a day at the following time: 7h15, 9h15, 11h15, 13h15, and 15h15. The cost for the voyage on the ice breaker is around 3.000¥ per pax in 45-60 minutes (depending on whether or not there is ice).
Visitors should check the seat availability and book the tickets beforehand via the website to guarantee that there are seats, and in order to see if the ship sets off at that time, as it only does when there are 10 or more passengers.
Thanks to the special currents flowing through the Okhotsk sea, the mutual sea area spreading from the border with Russia to Japan, this sea area has many interesting things for passengers to discover and then go from one surprise to another.
See you at part 2, exploring the exciting ice city - Mombetsu to learn more about amazing things unique to this cosy ice city ^^
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