Drift ice along the eastern coast of the Shiretoko Peninsula

Hokkaido's northeastern coast, including the Shiretoko Peninsula, is the southernmost region of the northern hemisphere to see drifting sea ice (ryuhyo) during winter. Drifting across the Sea of Okhotsk from northeastern Russia, the ice usually appears along the peninsula by late January and disappears again by early April. The best timing to view the ice is typically around the second half of February.

Under good conditions, drift ice can be seen from the road that travels alongside the peninsula's eastern coast. Furthermore, the ice can be enjoyed by participating in various ice drift related tours, including "ice walk tours" from Utoro. Dressed in wet suits, tour participants are led out onto the ice by guides. Or, if there is not much solid ice, the tours can involve more swimming than walking. Tours usually take two hours, cost around 5000 yen and can be booked through one's hotel or through the website Japanican.

An ice walk tour in Utoro that involved more swimming than walking due to a lack of solid ice

Access

Drift ice can be seen along the entire Shiretoko Peninsula. Tours are available in Utoro.

How to get to and around Shiretoko National Park

Page last updated: January 20, 2017