March 05, 13 | Fumiko Magota
With a name deriving from the Ainu (native Hokkaido civilization) word for seal, the Okhotsk Tokkari Center is a facility where seals (tokkari) from the Okhotsk Sea are raised and cared for. When we visited, the seals’ pool had frozen over and I wasn’t sure we would be able to see them but they suddenly popped their heads up through cracks in the ice, making for a very interesting meeting.
▲ Nicknamed Goma Chan, these spotted seals are well-known figures at the center.
▲This is a bearded seal. There are ringed seals now as well.
One thing you should definitely see is feeding time (times provided below). You can watch the staff feed the seals up close. It’s really amusing. The well-trained seals will roll over, raise their heads, clap their fins together and do other tricks at the signal of the staff. We thoroughly enjoyed this acrobatic show.
▲ It’s show time! This is the sea otter pose.
▲ Up they go! This pose also lets the staff check inside the seals’ mouths.
▲ Rolling around. This also lets the staff check to see if the seals have any injuries on their bellies.
We actually got to pet the seals too!
▲ They’re so cute! They might even give you a peck on the cheek.
▲ Licking my cheek
Seals’ bodies are covered in fine hair. When you touch them, you can feel their slick, smooth coat. They have soft, plump bellies but the lower part of their torso is quite muscular.
The friendliness and charming faces of the seals is sure to leave visitors satisfied with their visit.
▲ Their big brown eyes are so cute!
▲ Located in the Gariya District, where you’ll also find Garinko Number Two and the Okhotsk Tower.
[ Okhotsk Tokkari Center ]
Hours ／9：00～17：00 Daily feeding times: 10：30、11：30、13：30、14:30, 15：00 (five times/day)
Open year-round (may close outdoor facilities for bad weather )
Admission ／200 Yen per person (for seal feeding and medical expenses)
Access ／About 10 minutes by car from Monbetsu Bus Terminal
[ Model Course ]
14:00 / Hokkaido Okhotsk Drift Ice Science Center - Giza http://eng.mg/33edf
or Mari san no ki http://eng.mg/69d38
15:00 / Okhotsk Tokkari Center
16:00 / Okhotsk Observation Tower
Dinner / Seafood at Rin http://eng.mg/23b5b
06:00 / Garinko Number Two
From here you could also go to the Science Center
10:00 / Dezuka Fisheries http://eng.mg/d24b0
11:15 / Okhotsk Monbetsu White Curry (Kitchen Shima or Hotel Okhotsk Palace) http://eng.mg/196df
※ Flights from Haneda to Monbetsu take about 1 hour 40 minutes.
※ Bus ride from Monbetsu Airport to Monbetsu Bus Terminal takes about 15 minutes.
(Research, Photography, Composition by Hokkaido Likers Photo Writer – Fukko )