Encounter wildlife on a drift ice cruise

Winter, get close to wildlife

Sea of Okhotsk

During winter in Shiretoko, the World Heritage Site, drift ice cruises that take you deep into the ice that drifts south of the Sea of Okhotsk are a major tourist attraction. From the ship you can see such natural treasures as white-tailed and sea eagles flocking in this world of ice, and you can see the faces of seals peeping from between the waves. You must not miss a moment of the magnificent sunrise, with the drifting ice shining in the morning sun and the moment by moment change in the color.

The national treasure sea and white-tailed eagles

The Steller’s sea eagle (left), which reaches a wingspan of 2.5 meters, and the white-tailed eagle (right), which is named for its tail feathers, have both been designated as national treasures of nature. Every year they fly to the Sea of Okhotsk together with the drift ice in order to pass the winter eating the abundance of walleye pollock. It is highly likely that you can see these valuable big birds of prey in large numbers in Shiretoko Rausu, and it is a favorite place for birth watchers from around the world.

Harbor seal pups

Harbor seals are animals that move south with the drift ice, and they give birth and raise their young on the drift ice. You can especially see harbor and ribbon seals in Shiretoko Rausu. If you are lucky, you might be able to see an adorable seal pup dozing on the ice.

Sea urchin, a winter delicacy of Shiretoko Rausu

Among the sea urchin that you can get in Shiretoko Rausu, the ezo bafun sea urchin is a luxury food. It is full of good flavor. At restaurants and inns, you can eat sea urchin dishes with relish.

Rausu hot spring “Kumanoyu”

Managed by locals, this is a bathing hot spring near the Rausu River that you can make a day trip to. Surrounded by virgin forest, you can soak in this secluded hot spring while enjoying the steamy warmth and the snowy scenery.


Location/Access Rausu-cho, Menashi-gun, Hokkaido
About 2.5 hours from Memanbetsu Airport by car (rental car).
Inquiries Shiretoko Rausu Tourism Association
TEL 0153-87-3360

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