March 06, 13 | Fumiko Magota
Okhotsk Tower is the best place in Monbetsu to get a view of the sea. From the basement to the top, the sea and the drift ice can be seen from all four floors of the tower.
▲ The observation tower as seen from the boarding dock of Garinko No. 2. It’s the building at the end of the red structure.
▲ There is a promenade that extends about 515 meters, all the way to the tower. You could walk there, but I recommend taking the electric shuttle bus in the winter.
▲ After getting off the bus, you can take the elevator up and cross the sea bridge to enter the tower. The photos below show the view from inside (top) and inside the sea bridge (bottom).
The first floor Aqua Gate is 7.5 meters below the water. The seawater sits just outside the window. During the drift ice season, you get the rare opportunity to see the ice from underneath. This is the only facility in the world dedicated to observing drift ice from within the seawater.
▲ The cloudy water is evidence of the abundance of plankton.
▲ The fish exhibition is also exciting. Here you can see the Wolffish, with its very strong jaws and teeth. There are feeding times throughout the day, so you can watch the fish crush through shells during your visit.
On the first floor, you’ll find Okhotsk Hall, where you can by various original souvenirs. The second floor, Observation Hall, has special equipment arranged which is used for actual research and observation within the facility. The third floor is the Panorama Hall. At 38.5 meters high, it offers a spectacular 360 degree view of the surroundings, as you can see from the pictures below.
▲ With seats in front of the windows, time will fly as you sit and gaze at the ocean.
▲ There are three entrances to the balcony. The crisp, fresh sea breeze is so refreshing. It’s cold but feels fantastic!
On the third floor there is Chibikko Corner where you can sample scallop steak and coffee while relaxing and enjoying the view. The drift ice is already sweeping the coast, so if you go to Monbetsu now you’ll see a very different image to what’s shown in my photos. The expansive ice covers the water in a pure white sheet. You might also see Garinko No. 2 heading out to sea as it breaks up the ice. If you get the chance, you should certainly head to Monbetsu for this exciting experience! ♪
[ Okhotsk Ice Observation Tower ]
Hours ／10：00～17：00（Admission until 16：30）
* Closed for New Year
Admission ／ Adults, 800 Yen
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
06:00 / Garinko Number Two
From here you could also go to the Science Center
10:00 / Dezuka Fisheries
11:15 / Okhotsk Monbetsu White Curry (Kitchen Shima or Hotel Okhotsk Palace)
※ 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)