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Home of the Ainu

Lake Akan

Lake Akan in the southwest of the park is home to the village of Akanko Ainu Kotan, at Akanko Onsen. This is the largest gathering in Japan of the indigenous Ainu, being comprised of around 30 households of Hokkaido’s native people who exhibit their crafts, and the traditional Ainu dance—inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list—at the Akanko Ainu Theater Ikor. Akanko Onsen on the lake’s southern shore makes an ideal base to explore the natural wonders of Lake Akan from. Take a cruise to fully appreciate its stunning blue waters, and visit the Marimo Exhibition Center where you can see the intriguing marimo ‘moss balls’ rare green algae called Marimo the lake is famed for. Or hike the surrounding mountains and ancient forests, and the shoreline trails with their bubbling ‘mud volcanoes’!

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Sea of Clouds

Lake Kussharo

Lake Kussharo is the largest caldera lake in Japan (57 km around), big enough to dwarf Japan’s largest lake-bound island which sits at the center. But this modest peak is far from the star attraction, as Mt. Mokoto along with Bihoro Pass and Tsubetsu Pass stand high above the lake, bringing countless visitors especially from June through August, as the sweeping views they offer of the Kussharo Caldera put you above the “Sea of Clouds”. Each year when winter grips the lake, incredible ridges of ice thrust up from the surface, up to 10 km long! In summer though the lake is a hotbed of activity—nearby onsen and the numerous campsites around the shore bring people for canoeing, fishing and the outdoor hot springs that the lake is known for. Dig your own hot spring in the sand right by the beach!

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Deepest Blue

Lake Mashu

7,000 or so years ago a volcanic eruption formed the caldera that would hold Lake Mashu, leaving as its legacy one of the clearest lakes in the world, 351 meters above sea level. Lake Mashu is so uniquely brilliant—called by many the clearest lake in the world—that its deep and pure color is known as ‘Mashu Blue’ and marks it out as one of the most incredible sights in Hokkaido. Besides the waters of the lake itself, visitors drive up to its three surrounding observatories for incredible vistas of the frozen Sea of Okhotsk to the north, the fabulous mists that roll across the lake in the mornings, and at night the most incredible stargazing. Taking advantage of almost 360 degrees open sky, far away from city lights, a Lake Mashu starlight tour is a must when you visit this incredible park.

RECOMMENDEDItineraries
2 DAY TRIP / 1st day
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11:25Fly to Tancho Kushiro AirportDeparting from Haneda Airport, land at Tancho Kushiro Airport around 13:00.
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15:05See red-crowned cranes at the AICCVisit the Akan International Crane Center [GRUS] to see red-crowned tancho cranes, known locally as the 'Deity of the Wetlands.'
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16:50Arrive at Lake AkanAfter arriving at Lake Akan Bus Terminal, check in to your hotel in the Akankohan lakeside area.
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19:30Lake Akan Ice Festival (Seasonal)Only from early February to early March, see fireworks at the Lake Akan Ice Festival on the frozen surface of the lake itself.
2 DAY TRIP / 2nd day
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9:30Trekking and Fishing at Lake AkanWalk atop the frozen lake, go ice fishing for 'wakasagi' smelt, and enjoy a beautiful wintery hike around the area.
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15:00Akankohan Eco-museum CenterLearn more about the park through exhibits on its lakes and volcanoes, wildlife, and Lake Akan's famous 'marimo' (lake moss balls).
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20:45Lost Kamuy at Akanko Ainu Theater IkorTake in the Lost Kamuy show, combining the ceremonial dance of the indigenous Ainu with digital art and contemporary dance.
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22:00Get ready for your next adventureHead to your hotel or onsen, perhaps in the Kawayu Onsen or Mashu area, and rest up for another adventure tomorrow!
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