To the Japanese, Abashiri is as synonymous with the word 'prison' as Alcatraz is to Americans. Winters here are as harsh as they come, and the mere mention of the prison (still in operation) sends chills through the spines of even the most hardened individuals. Abashiri is also famous for its frozen seas, which can be explored on ice-breakers, and its coral-grass blooms, which burst into life every September...
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