Abashiri is a small city located on the Okhotsk Coast of northeastern Hokkaido.
To the Japanese, Abashiri is as synonymous with the word prison, as Alkatraz it to Americans.
Winters here are harsh. During the winter months, ice flows from Russia clog the northeastern shore of Hokkaido, stretching out to sea for as far as the eye can see.
The most popular way with the Japanese to view the ice flows up-close is to board an ice-breaking boat.
Abashiri has lots of places to enjoy: Koshimizu Gensei-kaen (wild flower preserve), where about 40 kinds of flowers bloom in spring and summe.
Mt. Tento-zan in the suburbs is a great place from which to view Abashiri.
In the Okhotsk Ryuhyo-kan (ice floe museum) you can see real ice floes even in the middle of summer, and experience a temperature of minus 15 degrees Celsius.
Ice floes arrive in Abashiri every year in late January and you can walk on the frozen Ocean and even play ice hockey above it.