Snow still remains at the end of March. There is heavy snow called "Doka-yuki" in March. In rare cases, Doka-yuki may stop all the public transportation. In this season, you may feel the duration of sunshine rapidly becoming longer. As roads are often muddy when snow melts, it is best to wear rain boots when you walk around outdoors. Of course, a heavy coat (ex. jacket, etc.) is indispensable.
The remaining snow can be seen in early April. In the latter half of the month, with a rapid increase in temperature, Japanese Butterbur and Asian skunk cabbage wake up and add colors to the ground covered with melting snow. Sometimes there is snow during Golden Week... you need a jacket in Abashiri even in April.
The temperature difference is quite extreme in May. In some years it snows during the consecutive holidays and the maximum temperature is over 30 degrees celsius in mid-May. Plants sprout all at once, and the sunshine becomes longer and stronger. But in May it is still cold in the morning and evening. A long-sleeved jacket is required.
June is a comfortable season in Abashiri, which is not affected by the rainy season. Birds make nests and raise chicks, and flowers bloom in Gensei Kaen, but you still need a sweater because it is sometimes below 5 degrees celsius at night.
In July it is relatively cool in Abashiri, but hot days are not uncommon. The Abashiri Okhotsk Summer Festival, including the Thousand People's Dance (Ryuhyo Ondo) and a fireworks display, Abashiri Roadside Station Yuichi Festival, where you can enjoy Abashiri gourmet food, and other outdoor events are held. You can see the colorful landscape of beer barley swinging in the wind from Kando-no-Michi.
There are some hot, summery days in early August. The short summer of Abashiri comes to an end in mid-August. The temperature becomes mild in the daytime, and a long-sleeved shirt and a jacket are required at night. The catch of Okhotsk salmon, a specialty of Abashiri, is at the peak around this time. The local gourmet dish "Okhotsk Abashiri Zangi Bowl" is at its best, too.
Beautiful autumn days continue in September. But sometimes low pressure passes in the aftermath of a typhoon, and there is a long spell of rainy weather and heavy rain. It is cool and mild in the daytime. This is a harvest season both on the land and at the sea. Salmon start swimming upstream in the Abashiri River. Potatoes and corn are harvested in full swing. The harvesting experience in the Omagari Lakeside Garden is most prosperous at this time of the year. The whole surface of Lake Notoro is colored red by Common Glasswort, and the "Hana Tent" created by the citizens is in full bloom on Mt. Tento.
In October, it is quite cold in the morning and evening. Autumn leaves in Abashiri look as if they dissolved in water of rivers and lakes. They are so impressive. The harvest of the crops is at the peak in this season, and seasonal delicacies can be enjoyed. Then people begin to prepare for winter, hanging out radishes and pickling vegetables. Around October, long sleeve clothes are indispensable.
In November, when thin ice forms and it snows for the first time in the season, travelers should wear winter clothes. In mid-October, oysters produced in Lake Mokoto and Lake Tofutsu are in season. Oysters in Abashiri have a lot of meat and taste rich. Please do not miss them!
Snow from early December till mid-December stays until spring, called "Neyuki (snow which does not melt until spring)". When the temperature is below zero degrees celsius in the daytime, winter is really here. Fishing boats are brought ashore (Fishing is impossible in winter due to drift ice). With days becoming shorter and shorter, you may feel somewhat lonely but the pleasure of winter is just about to start. This is the season for anglers; pond smelt fishing starts in frozen Lake Abashiri in late December. Travelers are advised to wear a fleece jacket or down jacket. Heavy gloves and a knit cap are preferred.
Winter in Abashiri is represented in blue and white. The blue sky and white snow, the blue sea and white drift ice. It is severely cold, but we have many fine days and the air is perfectly clear. Watching the beautiful Sea of Okhotsk and Shiretoko mountains in that clear air, we become a little excited both physically and mentally.
Drift ice arrives later, and stays alongside the coast for a shorter time, maybe as a result of global warming. But it usually comes alongside the coast in late January, and there are many tourists coming to see drift ice until March. When you get on an icebreaker or play outdoors, you should wear gloves, a cap that covers your ears, and a snowsuit. Rubber-souled shoes, which are not slippery, are the most recommended.
The locals wear "winter shoes", which are different from "summer shoes". Hotels and general houses tend to be heated to a higher temperature than in Honshu. Many people wear extra clothes when they go outdoors but are lightly dressed in the house.
In February, when drift ice stays alongside the coast, the cold is more severe. "Kearashi", steam rising from the surfaces of the sea and rivers, can be observed at this time of the year. Winter is the season for outdoor activities, too. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, kanjiki (snowshoeing), walking skis, the Ryu-hyo Zekkei Slider in the Okhotsk Ryu-hyo Museum, and fat bikes are the new ways of enjoying winter in Abashiri.