To Join the Drift Ice Walk in Shiretoko: Access and Preparation Guides for the Tour

The ‘Drift Ice Walk’ is a special winter activity that can be enjoyed in the Utoro district of the Shiretoko Peninsula, located in Hokkaido, Japan. But how can you get to Utoro, and what do you need to participate in the tour? In this article, we will provide detailed information of how to access Utoro and what preparations are required to join the ‘Drift Ice Walk’ tour.

Getting to Utoro

By Air: For those coming from the main islands of Japan, fly to either Memanbetsu Airport or Kushiro Airport. While Memanbetsu Airport is the closest to Utoro, please note that winter weather conditions can sometimes affect flights. Kushiro, with lower snowfall compared to the Shiretoko area, may offer smoother flight operations. From both airports, you can reach to Utoro area by bus or rental car. The journey from Memanbetsu Airport to Utoro takes approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes one way, while the trip from Kushiro Airport to Utoro is about 5 hours one way (winter conditions may double the travel time). There is a direct bus service called the Airport Liner from Memanbetsu Airport to Utoro, recommended if you’re not comfortable driving in snowy conditions.

By Train: Travel to JR Shiretoko Shari Station from major train stations, and from there, transfer to a bus. There is a direct bus from Shiretoko Shari Station to Utoro Onsen Bus Terminal, with a journey time of approximately 50 minutes.

By Rental Car: While renting a car is the most convenient option, it’s not highly recommended due to the potential for icy roads and heavy snowfall during Hokkaido’s winter. However, during the drift ice season, there is increased public transportation availability compared to other seasons. If you lack confidence in driving on snowy roads, it’s advisable to opt for the bus or train.

Preparing for the Drift Ice Walk

Reservations: The ‘Drift Ice Walk’ is a highly popular activity. While we accept reservations up to two hours before the tour time, it’s worth noting that during the peak season, especially after the second week of February on weekends, slots can fill up quickly. We strongly recommend making reservations well in advance. Online reservations are available.

Necessary Preparations: The ‘Drift Ice Walk’ is a tour that you wear special dry suits. Therefore, when making a reservation, we will need the height, weight, and shoe size information for all participants. As for what to wear on the day of the tour, please refer to this page. Dry suits are highly insulated, but the temperature on the ice can feel as low as -20°C. Please dress warmly.

Shiretoko Drift Ice Walk is a special activity that can only be experienced during a limited period of the severe winter season. We invite you to create unforgettable winter memories by joining us!

<Picchio Shiretoko>

Winter’s popular activity, the Shiretoko Drift Ice Walk, is now accepting reservations! For more details, please refer here.

“Picchio” is the Italian word for “woodpecker,” the name of a wild bird that inhabits forests. We believe in preserving forests and their flora and fauna for the future, with the aim of enhancing the value of these forests. As part of our efforts to make more people aware of the positive value of forests inhabited by diverse wildlife, we organize nature experiences and activities in Shiretoko, where you can enjoy encounters with exciting flora and fauna through nature tours and more.

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