30.5.13

Hokkaido: Things To Do In Mombetsu

Japan, February 2013

Garinko-go II
Some little facts about Mombetsu, it's a city in the northeast of Hokkaido. The name Mombetsu came from "Moupetto" (calm river), a word of aboriginal Ainus of Hokkaido. I did some quick research before my trip to Hokkaido since I've never heard about a city called Mombetsu before. I found out that their specialities is crab which is reputably the best in Japan. Monbetsu is also famous for drift ice, a yearly phenomenon which reaches the city every January or February from the northern Sea of Okhotsk.

So what to do in Mombetsu ?

road trip to Mombetsu
1. Icebreaker Cruise

I was lucky to be in Mombetsu during winter and the yearly Drift Ice Festival, so I was able to experience the icebreaker cruise (January to March only). The name of the ship is Garinko-go II, used to pave the way for nautical routes so that other ships could still use the freezing oceans in winter to transport cargo. It was awesome and fun.....apart from freezing cold weather. I insisted to stay on the open deck during whole trip (more than 1 hour), because I want to take pictures. It was snowing quite hard during the cruise and the temperature drop to minus 18C. I was shivering and wet. My face was frozen that I couldn't smile, as if I've done too many botox, lol. My hands looked really red and it was hard to move even to press the shutter button. Glad I did that though, had I spent my time in the warm and cosy cabin, I wouldn't see and experience much. I love hearing the sound of ice cracking and breaking up.


on board the cruise



2. Seal Conservation Centre

Okhotsk Tokkari Centre
As soon as I arrived here, I jumped out the car then run gleefully into the building.....left my family behind and forgot about them. Yeah, it happens a lot when I see cute animals and I want to pet them :p
But it's not everyday I can pet a seal, right ? Not only one but there are about 30 beautiful seals which are called "Goma-Chan". Their fave food is Hokke fish, another speciality from Hokkaido.



gimme some fooood

make friends with some adorable seals



3. Okhotsk Sea Ice Museum

low temperature simulation
It's a hands-on science centre where you can learn the nature, culture and life of the area in a mysterious manner, and provides a wide range of information about sea ice, including the formation of sea ice and its correlation with global-scale climate changes. One interesting section is the low temperature simulation room which the temperature is minus 20C. I was confused when the staff handed a wet towel to me. I thought I was asked to wipe my hands with it. Turned out it was a demo tool. The staff asked me to swing the wet towel in the air and within seconds the towel became dry and frozen. Cool, huh! I need this kind of room to dry my laundry in a blink of an eye :p

Okhotsk Sea Ice Museum


4. Okhotsk Tower

Okhotsk Tower

It's the first underwater drift ice observatory in the world. There's a a 360-degree observation lounge on the third floor, where you can see all the way from the sea to the Shiretoko Mountain as well as an outdoor balcony cafe. But most important we can see all kinds of sea creatures in their natural habitat all year round.

"whatcha lookin at ?" said the angry looking crab

It's where I first saw the tiny transparent sea creature called Sea Angels. I haven't even heard about this creature before. I was so curious and when I finally caught a glimpse of it, I was in love. To me, sea angels are such beautiful creatures. They can only live in cold water with temperature between minus 2 to minus 10 Celsius. They "fly" in the water in a graceful moves using their 2 wings alike, thus they're called Sea Angels. I just couldn't get enough looking at them.

beautiful Sea Angels

the smoking snowman

5. Mochi Making

I was staying at an onsen resort called Mombetsu Prince Hotel. At night they have an interesting program, the mochi making. So those who want to participate should wear this cute outfit including the headband. And will be given the chance for pounding mochi while others shouting "Yosh!" as a rhythm for pounding. It was quite heavy but so much fun. And the mochi was delicious.

mochi making

Overall, I really enjoyed my time in Mombetsu. Also I found the people were generally very friendly. It still amazes me that when we were checking out from hotel, the hotel manager and staff send us to parking lot then bowed several times and waved their hands until our car disappeared from their sight. It touched my heart, seriously. I've never had that kind of kindness in any other countries.

To end this post, here's a short shaky video of the icebreaker cruise. Cheers :)


39 comments:

  1. Waaaah baru tau kalo kita bisa ikut ice breaker cruise juga.. Curiosity-nya besar sekali sampai bisa tahan di luar 1 jam hehe :D
    The seals look so cute (and lazy at the same time)!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. iyaaaaa, padahal dingin banget sampe beku tangannya :p
      Icebreaker crusie cuma ada bulan January sampe Maret aja.

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  2. as always. Nice post deb. Gokil bener snowmannya ngerokok :))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thankies ! iyah, si snowman mau jadi anak gahol :p

      Delete
  3. Now you are a mochi maker too kak :)
    btw how cold is that place? snow everywhere woohoooo
    I wish I could see snow *pengen pengeen*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Abis bikin mochi, leher keseleo 2 minggu, kakaka. Berat banget itu pemukulnya :p
      Cuaca disana rata-rata minus 5 sampe minus 8 Celsius. Pas ice breaker cruise paling dingin sampe minus 15, hihihi

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    2. ya ampun sampe keseleo lehernya :(
      tapi seru banget pengalaman bikin mochinya pasti :)

      aaaaaaampun deh minus 15 =.=

      Delete
  4. wow makan mochi bikinan sendiri hhahaha kerennnn!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. makan mochi bikini sendiri pasti rasanya laen ya deb heheheh

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yang pasti rasanya jauh lebih enak, kakakaka. Jadi disayang-sayang gitu mochinya biar ga cepet abis :p

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  6. Gilaaaaa ... itu -20 derajat giman arasa nya ????

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. rasanya awet muda, kulit kenceng ketarik tanpa perlu botox, hihihi :p

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  7. jadi pengin ke sana!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. aku juga masih pengen balik Hokkaido ! :)

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  8. Mau Mochinya ddoooonnnggg...:P
    BTW knpa mochinya harus dipukul2 pke palu segede itu mbk??
    klo berkenan kunjungi my blog ya.. :)

    danandiahtraveler.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. iyah, tradisi mereka unik memang. Dipukul2 biar adonan empuk gitu, sambil dikasih air dikit2 :)

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  9. Baru liat ada seal warnanya kaya gituuu :))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lucu ya gendut kayak guling :p
      Kalo ga salah dengar memang ini jenis seal yang langka gitu

      Delete
  10. What a FANTASTIC post!

    I really LOVED the seals and have never heard of sea angels before, how lovely are they!xxxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. aren't they adorable ? I want to kidnap one of those seals, lol. xxxxx

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  11. foto fotonya bagus deh

    ReplyDelete
  12. The seals looks so cute but actually it can harm you badly if you get too close to them,
    btw, such a fun trip in a cold and freezing weather....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's true, we weren't allowed to touch their head....only their body :)

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  13. Duuhh saljunya tebal sekali, kalau saya sih ga tahan deh lama-lama di sana. Itu Sea Ice Museum bagus sekali :).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. kalo aku suka bangettt ama winter apalagi salju. Kalo cuaca panas malah ga tahan, sering sakit :(

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  14. Hahaha absolutely love the photo of the smoking snowman! Nothing can beat it. I would love to visit the . Seal Conservation Centre and feed some of the seals there. My dream!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes, it's a cute little snowman, hahaha. Seals are adorable, right ? But beware not to touch their head though. Because they will bite you

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  15. aah bagus banget iniiih!pengen ke hokkaido....eh kulinernya sempet nyoba apa aja debb?hehehe tetep yaah gw

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. review kuliner disimpan buat terakhir. Food porn banget soalnya. Makanan disana enak enakkkkkk *histeris sendiri*

      Delete
  16. oiya, lupa kasih advice, kebanyakan makan mochi berakibat pada pipi lho kak. demikian | *kabur naik shinkansen*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. huakakaka, bener juga pasti gara-gara mochi aku jadi gendut *cari kambing hitam*

      Delete
  17. Itu ikan2nya dalam balok es Deb yang di Okhotsk Sea Ice Museum ?
    gile cuman -20 ?? Itu mah early winter nya Belgia hahahaha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. iya, Kak. Binatang2 lautnya dibekuin dalam balok es. Kasian juga ya :(
      Huihhh berarti winter di Belgia harsh donk ya, hihihihi

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  18. Sea Angelsnya imuuuuuttttt >.< baru tau ada makhluk kaya gitu deh. plus suka banget yang foto bareng sealnya, sealnya imut. catat, sealnya yang imut.. *ketok*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. iyah, aku juga baru sekali ini liat sea angels, langsung in love saking cantiknya :D

      Delete
  19. dingin bgt tuh ampe -20,,,
    saljunya ditambah sirup strawbery jadi minuman seger tuh

    ReplyDelete
  20. Halo DebbZie!
    Meski udah 2 tahun yg lalu, namun pengalaman kamu ini seru banget.
    Pengalaman ke Hokkaido emang bukan cuma melihat pemandangan aja, tp bisa menjelajah dan merasakan pengalaman layaknya orang2 lokal setempat. That was cool!

    Kunjungan berikutnya, mungkin aku mau coba ke tempat2 yg udah kamu kunjungi itu, Mombetsu, Noboribetsu, dll.

    Aku juga ada pengalaman yg hampir serupa ketika ke Hokkaido bbrapa waktu lalu:
    http://makanangin-travel.blogspot.com/2015/02/wakuwaku-reporter-2015-hokkaido.html

    Thanks for share your story, Deb..

    "It's not just about the destination, but the journey"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yayyy! baru nge-trip ke Hokkaido ya? Mana oleh2 ramennya? hihihi :p
      Aku masih pengen balik sana nih. Tapi mungkin pas spring atau autumn gitu deh :)

      Delete

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