Day two of the post Visit Japan Travel and MICE Mart (VJTM) famil was jam-packed with activities and sightseeing in Northeastern Hokkaido.
Shiretoko Five Lakes is a world heritage site and consists of three walking courses around the five pristine lakes.
The area is home to wild animals, including brown bears, so we were first given a short lecture about keeping safe around the lakes.
True to Hokkaido’s ever-changing weather, it was pouring rain when we arrived but just as the lecture finished the sun came out and we were able to walk around the lakes and take in the stunning scenery.
We then visited Shiretoko National Park Nature Center to watch a short film titled “Four Seasons in Shiretoko”.
The film showcases the nature and wildlife of Shiretoko, of which the local residents are profoundly proud.
The centre was built about 30 years ago and will be undergoing a full refurbishment next spring.
Later we returned to the Utoro area for a Japanese set menu lunch called chanchan-yaki: a seafood hot pot dish and regional food of Hokkaido.
After a little more driving we reached Abishiri where we visited the Okhotsk Drift Ice Museum.
Here we learnt about drift ice in the newly renovated exhibition space and enjoyed the 360-degree panoramic views from the observation terrace.
Finally, we stopped in at the famous Abashiri Prison Museum, which is home to the original prison buildings that were built in the 1890s.
It was both fascinating and eerie strolling through Japan’s largest, oldest and most-feared prison.
Each of the day’s attractions included a quick shop in the souvenir stores, which all sell an abundance of local produce and handmade craft unique to Hokkaido.
After a full day of touring we settled in at our hotel for the night, Kanihonjin Yuasio in Abashiri, before a delicious set menu dinner that featured fresh crab from Hokkaido.