Drift ice reached to the coast of Okhotsk area of Hokkaido Island. Ice-crushing ship that has drill-like ice crushers for tourists may be in full use in Monbetsu Bay in Okhotsk sub-prefectural area.
Some people may expect ice bergs on the sea as my wife had done before she actually saw the drift ice off shore of Abashiri City.
The sightseeing train for enjoying enough the coast of Okhotsk area in winter started to carry the tourists and the "Welcome Event" was held by the tourism-related entities including Okhotsk Tourism Association in Abashiri JR station on February 1(Fri.).
The passengers getting off the train named " Ryuhyou Norokko" from Shiretoko Shari JR station were received with heartfelt hospitality and given hot drinks such as Japanese Amazake, "Ryuhyou-ame" which means "drift ice candy" and pamphlet for sightseeing in Abashiri City on the platform of the station where the banner "熱烈歓迎！" (Welcome!) was set.
One of the image characters of Okhotsk area, "Tsuku Tsuku Okhotskun" appeared on the platform and kindly took photos with the passengers.
The fantabulous scenery of drift ice on the sea can be seen from the window of the train "Ryuhyou Norokko" which runs on the rail comparatively slowly. A rotund stove is set in the train as it was many years ago and the passengers can warm up the dried squid "Surume" on the stove and savor it. That is recognized as the things of this area.
The seasonal train "Ryuhyou Norokko" is available for a month until March 10(Sun.)and connects Abashiri City and Shiretoko Shari twice a day. Details are at the web site of JR Hokkaido Kushiro Branch Office at http://www.jrkushiro.jp/
but only in Japanese.