From Mombetsu, we took a bus to the nearest train station in Engaru (遠軽). Train service to Mombetsu was discontinued many years ago. The bus was a sauna, not sure why there was so much heat – to save ourselves we opened the windows in the frigid weather.
From Engaru, we caught the Okhotsk Express to Abashiri City (網走). We visited the historic Abashiri Prison many summers ago on a drive back from Shiretoko.
We had layover in Abashiri – everyone huddled in a small heated waiting area.
From Abashiri we took the Ryuhyo Norokko-go (流氷ノロッコ号) sightseeing train to Shiretoko-Shari (知床斜里), the closest station to Shiretoko National Park (知床).
The Ryuhyo Norokko-go (流氷ノロッコ号) train only runs in the winter – the cars have benches that face the Okhotsk Sea and each car has a coal stove where you can heat up dried squid and fish that is sold on the train.
From the train we could see sea drift ice on the horizon.
In Shiretoko-Shari, we had a brief wait for a bus that would take us to Utoro, the entrance to Shiretoko National Park.
You would think, you wouldn’t want to drive a white car in this area unless it was for camouflage.