Hokkaido nature activities(Red crowned cranes, Steller's sea eagles and White tailed eagles watching tours in Hokkaido)

Drift ice walking is an activity which can only be experienced in the Utoro area of the Shiretoko peninsula.


The ice floating in the blue sea is like a hoard of shining jewels.

It’s constantly changing shape creates a new and beautiful vista every single day.

Drift ice walking is a unique experience which allows you to explore the floating ice while wearing a specialised suit.

Our trained guides will safely lead you through the ice floes while the dry suits keep you warm and protected with their high heat retention and buoyancy, allowing you to participate without any worries.

And the real thrill of our "Drift Ice Walk” is not just the walking but the “360°” element, allowing you to take in every angle of this icy world.

In addition to the panoramic views of ice spreading all around you, you can also dive into the world under the ice and view the chilly waters through specialised aqua scopes.

Maybe you’ll even be able to meet the clione. A tiny floating gastropod which travels with the seasonal drift ice as a unique part of this wintry ecosystem.

This is a special tour which can only be experienced for 1.5 months during the coldest season of the year when the ice is nice and solid.

Featured point of the tour

01 An impressive experience only Picchio can offer

Since it’s establishment in 1992, Picchio has been running guided nature tours alongside it’s active conservation of Japanese black bears in Karuizawa, Nagano prefecture. We brought these 30 years of guiding experience and wildlife expertise to the spectacular wilderness of Shiretoko in 2019. And so our drift ice tour is not just walking but an adventure guided by nature loving experts.

02 Having everyone experience the true nature of drift ice

Drift ice is an essential part of Shiretoko's ecosystem. We want everyone who visits the area to understand the true nature of the drift ice. Such as where is drift ice born and why does it come to Shiretoko? And what kind of creatures live amongst the icy waters?

03 The theme of the tour is 360°

Be fully immersed in a winter wonderland. Clamber among the ice, float in the slushy ice pools, peek beneath the water’s surface with specialised aqua scopes and keep your eyes peeled above for the eagles that may be soaring through the sky. This is a tour that really embraces the concept of 360.

Tour detail



*Depending on the conditions of the drift ice, we may cancel the tour.

  • Morning1 9:00 am - 11:00 am (-2h)
  • Morning2 10:00am - 12:00 noon (-2h)
  • Afternoon 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm (-2h)

6000 JPY (for both adults and children)

*We only accept cash payment at the start of the tour.
If you are staying at any of the Kitakobushi group hotels, you can pay at the check-out.


8people/ 1 guide

Fitness level


walking distance about 1km

  • 6 years or older.
  • Height:130cm-190cm
  • Weight: up to 110kg
  • Must be able to follow our instructions and take self-safety-control.
Meeting place

We will pick you up at the lobby of your accommodation or the road station: "Drive Resting Area, Utoro-Shirietoku". (Utoro area only)

Pick up time

The meeting time depends on the meeting place requested.
For detailed meeting times, please confirm below.

【People who chose "Your Accommodation"-】
  • ●*Yuhino Ataru Ie ONSEN HOSTEL/KIKI Shiretoko Natural Resort/Shiretoko Dai-ichi Hotel/Hotel Shiretoko/20 minutes before the starting time of the tour.
  • ●*Shiretoko Village/Shiretoko Hostel Hanare/ Bon's Home/ Shiretoko Pereke/ Kiraku / Shiretoko Lantern/ Ishiyama/ Iruka Hotel/ Shiretoko Noble Hotel/ Shyutyo no Ie/ 15 minutes before the starting time of the tour.
  • ●*Kitakobushi Shiretoko Hotel& Resort/Hotel Kifuu club Shiretoko/10 minutes before the starting time of the tour.
【People who chose "Drive Resting Area, Utoro-Shirietoku"-】

15 minutes before the starting time of the tour.

We may not be able to make the exact agreed pick-up time due to other guests’ situations.


Please book by 9:00 pm of the day before the tour day you would like to join.


Q Can I carry my camera or cell phone on the tour?
You may bring your own camera or phone at your own risk. It is recommended that you keep it in a warm, waterproof case due to the wet and cold conditions of the tour. It’s also best to have a case that can be strapped to your person so your hands are free to keep your balance.
Q Is there anything I should be aware of in terms of clothing?
Since the dry suit is a close-fitting type of suit, please refrain from wearing hoods, thick turtlenecks, and other clothing that may constrict the neck. Also, thick sweaters may feel tight, so we recommend light sweaters, fleece, etc. Your feet will get cold on the ice. Please wear double socks to keep your feet warm.
Q What can I bring?
Belongings and valuables other than waterproof cameras and waterproof mobile phones, cannot be carried during the tour. Please participate with the minimum amount of belongings. Please note that luggage cannot be stored.
Q Can I bring valuables with me?
If you have valuables, you may use the safety box in our office. Please note that you cannot carry valuables during the tour.
Q Do we go into the ocean?
You can enter the sea through the cracks in the drift ice. We actively guide visitors not only to walk on the drift ice, but also to enter the sea, so that they can experience the sea of drift ice more fully.
*If the conditions on the day of the tour are deemed dangerous by the guide, there is a possibility that you may not be able to enter the sea.
Q Is it ok that I cannot swim?
Dry suits are buoyant, so there is no problem even if you cannot swim. The guide will also carefully explain how to float during the tour.
Q Can I take a shower after the tour?

Unfortunately, there are no showers in the changing area. If you wear a dry suit, you will not get very wet so, you should not need to take a shower. If you wish to take a bath after the tour, please use the day spa at a local hotel.

◆Hotels in the Utoro area with day-trip hot spring baths

Q When will drift ice come?
Although it varies from year to year, drift ice is usually seen coming ashore from late January to early February. The ice stabilizes around mid-February, so it is recommended that you join us during this period. After mid-March, strong southerly winds blow more often and drift ice may be washed out to sea, so the tour may not be available on certain days.


Tour Conditions
Depending on the landing condition of the drift ice, the tour may come with the condition; “stay near the coast”. In addition, the tour may be cancelled due to the movement of the ice or possible stormy weather conditions.
In the event of cancellation due to unforeseen circumstances, we will contact you in advance.
If there is no contact please assume that the tour will be held as planned and make the necessary preparations.
In addition, if the weather or drift ice conditions suddenly change during the tour, please understand that we may decide to cancel the tour with safety in mind.
Regarding rental equipment/clothing
  • Waterproof suits will be provided during the program, but clothes may still get wet in rare cases.
  • On the ice, the temperature may reach -20 degrees. Although you will be wearing a dry suit designed for wet and cold conditions, please wear warm clothes underneath.
Regarding tour participants
  • This tour requires physical strength equivalent to that of hiking. In addition, this tour is intended for “persons who can take care of themselves” on ice.
  • There is always a risk of falling or injury due to stepping through the ice or slipping on ice, so please participate with that risk and your own skill level in mind, especially elderly guests.
  • Although you will wear dry suits with great heat retention during the tour, please note that it is possible for parts of your body to come in contact with the freezing water. If you have a serious illness such as heart disease, please get written consent from your doctor before participating.
Other Notes
  • For safety, please move as a group during the tour.
  • There is no restroom and hand-wash station during the tour (only portable toilets are available before getting on the ice). Please make sure to visit the toilet before getting onto the ice.
  • Due to the tour being held outdoors, there will always be unforeseen risks that we cannot prepare for. Please keep that in mind and participate in good physical condition. If you are not feeling well, please reconsider if necessary, and participate within reason.
  • If you are late for the meeting time and place on the day of the tour, please note that you may no longer be able to participate due to the potential inconvenience caused to other customers.
  • On the day of the tour, please cooperate with checking your temperature and confirming your physical condition during reception.