Monbetsu is well-known for its Crab Claw Status which can be easily found at the city waterfront. Easily the most distinguishable feature of the city, the statue marked that Monbetsu is the best place to find the best-tasting crabs in the entirety of Japan. Monbetsu is a town that is placed under the subprefecture of Okhotsk, Hokkaido, being named after a derivation of the original Ainu name, 'Mopet' that means quite a river, with the '-pet' suffix being interpreted as '-betsu’ in the Japanese language. With a total population of 22,983 people as of 2016, Monbetsu started as a small village in 1889 before expanding further to become a town in 1919. Monbetsu got awarded its city status in 1954 with the inclusion of the communities of Shokotsu and Kamishokotsu. With the Shokotsu River flowing through the city, its economy is mainly driven by fishing, especially for cold-water species.
Monbetsu Airport or also known as Okhotsk Monbetsu Airport is a third class airport in Japan which is mostly serving the city of Monbetsu and areas nearby. Located only 15 kilometers away from the city center of Monbetsu from the southeast direction, the airport is operated by the Hokkaido Government. Opens since the year 1999 for general aviation flights, the airport is considered to be the newest airport in the entirety of Hokkaido island. It has a terminal building that is two-story and covers an area of 1,993 square meters. At an elevation of 18 meters, Monbetsu Airport has a runway that is 2,000 meters long which is made of asphalt concrete. As of 2015, the airport has handled about 71,802 passengers with over 783 aircraft movements. Monbetsu Airport typically caters to All Nippon Airways for destinations heading to Tokyo-Haneda and Sapporo among others. That aside, there are multiple connecting flights to Monbetsu from Manila with stops at Tokyo and Hong Kong via airlines such as Japanese Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Cathay Pacific and Philippine Airlines.
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The off-peak season is during December which is during the beginning of winter season, therefore if you do not mind the lower crowd anyway, accommodation prices can be lower around this time, but do not expect it to go down too much. It is undoubtedly the best time to get good bargains. Peak season in Monbetsu is during January, March and April which is during the end of winter and beginning of spring when the weather is becoming warmer and much more comfortable over time. The best time to visit Monbetsu is certainly around summer to autumn, which is from June to October, being the time when the temperature is moderate and is just lovely to go out without higher crowd concentrations.
Monbetsu, in a similar fashion to other parts in Hokkaido, being part of the island of Hokkaido which is among the coldest regions in Japan, is said to have a humid continental climate according to the Köppen classification which implies cold winters with intense blizzards and snowfall from December to February and warm summers from June to August. The highest recorded temperature is at 23 degree Celsius in August while the lowest recorded temperature is at −9.9 degree Celsius in February. Precipitation is about 810.2 mm annually with the highest precipitation occurring in July to September. With an average relative humidity of 74 percent, Monbetsu has an average of 1,726.8 sunshine hours.
There are a lot of festivals you can look forward to enjoy in Monbetsu as well as nearby towns throughout the year just like the locals. Among the most prominent festival here is undoubtedly the Monbetsu Port Festival during the summertime in which the city would exhibit appreciation to the Monbetsu Port which has been its lifeline for ages with fireworks and street stalls filling up the roads during the event day; and Monbetsu Gourmet Festival during the autumn time which is the perfect time to enjoy the delicious food available in town, especially the fresh seafood that is assured to be the freshest in the area.
Okhotsk Tokkari Center - A zoo and park that is dedicated to marine life, with the most animal species being contained here are from the seal species that can be found in a numerous amount indoors and outdoors. It is pretty much the only marine animal conservation facility of its kind in entire Japan, and thus a lot of conservation activities are conducted here as well.
Okhotsk Sea Ice Museum - Easily accessible from the Monbetsu Airport, the Okhotsk Sea Ice Museum or GIZA science hall is more of a hands-on museum that allows visitors to be able to experience the mannerisms of drift ice somewhat. There is also a sea ice aquarium within the area that features various types of fish, shellfish and seaweed living under the layer of ice.
Crab Claw Statue - A ten meters tall sculpture that is reminiscent of a crab claw, the statue serves as the testament to the city’s pride produce, namely its crabs that are locally fished around town. It is a great spot to take photos when in Monbetsu and there is no charge being applied to anybody who intends to visit it.