[Lake Akan in Kushiro] Tourism, Onsen and Lake Ball Can Be Enjoyed
August 26th, 2014
- Lake Akan
- List of Lake Mashu Tourist Attractions
- List of Onsen around Lake Akan
- List of Tasty Restaurants around Lake Akan
- List of Activities
- List of Accommodations
Lake Akan (阿寒湖) is a caldera lake in the northern part of Kushiro city, and the Akan means "Immovable" in Ainu language. In Akan Mashu National Park, the perimeter of the lake is about 25.9 km. The maximum water depth is 45 m. The lake is well-known for growing Lake Ball (Marimo). Old Lake Akan was dammed by eruptions of Mt. Oakandake (雄阿寒岳) 10,000 years ago, and 3 lakes, the Lake Akan, Lake Panketo (パンケトー) and Lake Penketo (ペンケトー) were born. Trees such as Yezo spruce, Abies sachalinensis, Painted maple and Mongolian oak grow naturally around the lake, and the lake side is covered with the primeval forest. 24 types of wild animals such as Brown bear and Yezo deer and 65 types of wild birds such as Black woodpecker inhabit, and the lake has been designed as a wetland under the Ramsar Convention since 2005. Around the Lake Akan, there are Takiguchi (滝口) that is famous for a beauty spot of fall foliage, Akankohan Lookout (阿寒湖畔展望台 * Akankohan Ski Resort) with a good view, Lake Onneto (オンネトー), Mt. Oakandake (雄阿寒岳), Mt. Meakandake (雌阿寒岳), Sokodai Lookout (双湖台) and Sogakudai Lookput (双岳台).
Round algae "Lake ball (まりも * Marimo)" that has been designated as the special natural monument is particularly famous. Marimokkori (まりもっこり), a mascot character, usineg the Lake Ball as a motif became a big thing. It is considerably unusual that algaes such as round algae of the Lake Akan grow in colonies, and except the Lake Akan, the round algae grow only in Lake Myvatn, Icelandic. But the Lake Ball of the Lake Myvatn is imminently threatened with extinction. Therefore, I think that the Lake Ball of the Lake Akan is property of the earth. The lake is prohibited to enter other than the southern part of the Lake Akan, because there is the colonies of the Lake Ball on the northern part of Lake Akan. The Lake Ball is displayed to observe closely at Marimo Exhibition and Observation Center (マリモ展示観察センター), Churui Island (チュウルイ島) and Akan Kohan Eco Museum Center (阿寒湖畔エコミュージアム), Akanko Onsen Resort. A guided tour is planned at the prohibited area after 2018.
The Chinese romantic comedy movie "If you are the one" photographed in the eastern part of Hokkaido become popular among chinese people, and the Lake Akan became a famous toursit sttraction that they want to visit. Director, Mr. Feng Xiaogang, produces it, and Mr. Ge You and Ms. Shu Qi play the leading characters. The overseas tourists visit here by all means, and I want them to feel good Hokkaido. Japanese movie "Unforgiven" was photographed in a forest, Maeda family assets.
As for events, Lake Akan Opening (阿寒湖湖水開き) is held in late April, Opening of Mt. Oakan to Climbers (雄阿寒岳山開き) is held in late July, Iomante Fire Festival (イオマンテの火まつり) is held from late October to early December, Marimo Festival (まりも祭) is held in early October, Lake Akan Ice Aisu (阿寒湖氷上フェスティバル) is held from late January to late March.
Fresh green, a kokanee fishing, hiking and a canoe can be enjoyed in a summer, and fall foliage and nature trail can be enjoyed in an autumn, smelt fishing and snowshoes can be enjoyed in a winter. There are only paid parking for tourists. By the way, a nonstop bus, Marimo Express Sapporo (まりも急行札幌号), runs between Sapporo or New Chitose Airport and Akanko Onsen. A nonstop bus, Akan Airport Liner (阿寒エアポートライナー), runs from Tancho Kushiro Airport to the Akanko Onsen. In addition, some nonstop buses for hotel guests seem to run between Sapporo, New Chitose Airport, Obihiro, Kushiro and the Akanko Onsen.
Lake Onneto (オンネトー) in Akan Mashu National Park (阿寒摩周国立公園) is a dammed lake born by an eruption of Mt. Meakan (雌阿寒岳) in Ashoro town. The Onnneto means "Aged Marsh" or "Large Marsh" in Ainu language. The perimeter of the lake is about 2.5 km, and the maximum water depth is about 10 m, and the lake is not so large. The Lake Onneto is one of the three major secret lakes together with Lake Ocotanpe (オコタンペ湖) and Lake Shinonome (東雲湖) in Hokkaido. Because colors of water look azure blue and emerald green depending on seasons, places, directions of wind and weather, the lake is called "Goshikinuma (五色沼 * Marsh turning into 5 colors)", and it is said that the colors of the water is the most beautiful in Hokkaido. It seems to look beautiful in particular if weather is bad. The water turning into 5 colors is acid with ph 6, and fishes can not inhabit, but only Uchida Crawfish (内田ザリガニ) and Yezo Salamander (エゾサンショウウオ) inhabit in the water. Creatures seem to be able to adapt to harsh environment. Article is here
List of Lake Mashu Tourist Attractions
There are the Akanko Onsen Resort, the Akankohan Lookout, the Hakutosan Observation Deck, the Sokodai Lookout, the Sogakudai Lookout, the Lake Taro and the Lake Jiro. My visited places are as follows.
Akanko Onsen Resort
Akanko Onsen Resort (阿寒湖温泉街) is a sightseeing base in the south side of the Lake Akan. There are a lot of accommodations, hot spring facilities, a landing port for a pleasure boat, restaurants, souvenir shops in the onsen resort. It is also well-known for the biggest Ainu Village (アイヌコタン) in Hokkaido, and is adjacent to the Akankohan Ski Resort and the Akankohan Camping Ground (阿寒湖畔キャンプ場), too, and tourists can enjoy the Lake Akan in a summer and a winter.
Tourists can enjoy 85-minute Cruise on the pleasure ship. Marimo Exhibition and Observation Center "Torasanpe" (マリモ展示観察センター "トラサンペ") is in Churui Island (チュウルイ島) that the pleasure ship drops anchor on the way, and real lake ball can be observed.
Akankohan Eco Museum Center (阿寒湖畔エコミュージアムセンター) is built on a part of the onsen resort, and the lake ball and Itou fish (イトウ) are bred at the glass tank, and visitors can watch the rare algae and the rare fish at the same time. In addition, there is a place called "Bokke (ボッケ)" that extra hot springs gush out if the tourists go along Akanko Natural Path for about 15 minutes. Because the bank of the lake is very hot, please do not get burnt!
The Ainu Kotan is formed around the Ainu Theater IKor, and souvenirs such as a doll carved out of wood are sold. In addition, the lake ball that is symbolic of the Lake Akan is sold all over the Akanko Onsen.
Atmosphere of Lake Akan Can Be Watched on Youtube
|Admission fee||Free of charge|
|Parking lot||Pay parking lot is provided (500 Cars), Capacity for midsize vehicles: JPY 410.|
|Business hours||Open 24 hours|
|Regular closing day||Open all year round|
|Home page||Home page is here|
|Mapcode||739 342 730*04|
Akankohan Lookout (阿寒湖畔展望台) is a viewing point in the south side of the Akanko Onsen Resort. The distance is around 3 km away from the center of the Akanko Onsen Resort, and the lookout is built at about 530 m above sea level to overlook Lake Akan on a slope of Akankohan Ski Resort (阿寒湖畔スキー場). It is a lookout from June to November, and it turns into the ski resort from December to March. The lookout and a parking lot are on the site. The mountainside can be reached by car. It takes about 3 minutes from the parking lot to the lookout on foot. Admission free. The parking lot is free of charge. Article is here
Hakutosan Observation Deck
Hakutosan Observation Deck (白湯山展望台) is in the south side of the Akanko Onsen Resort. Tourists can view the Lake Akan and Mt. Oakandake (雄阿寒岳), and arrive here through Hakutosan Natural Trail (白湯山自然探勝路) from Akankohan ski resort. It takes about 80 minutes each way on foot. The tourists can see Hakuto-Bokke (白湯ボッケ) and a hot spring river during walking, and can experience energy of nature. In the case of me, it took 20 minutes on foot to an entrance of the Hakutosan Natural Trail. Besides, I gave up hiking there. The tourists must hike along a rough trail, and I think that a mountaineering wear, water and food are necessary. Admission free. A parking lot is free of charge.
Atmosphere of Hakutosan Observation Deck Can Be Watched on Youtube
|Admission fee||Free of charge|
|Parking lot||Free parking is provided (5 Cars)|
|Business hours||May 09:00-17:00, From June to September 07:00-18:00|
|Regular closing day||It changes skiing area in a winter|
|Home page||Home page is here|
|Mapcode||739 249 552*46|
Sokodai Lookout (双湖台) in Kushiro city is around 12 km away from Lake Akan, and is well-known as a viewing point at about 680 m above sea level to view Lake Penketo (ペンケトー) and Lake Panketo (パンケトー) born by an eruption of Mt. Oakandake (雄阿寒岳) along Akan Odan National Route (阿寒横断道路 * National Route 241). Those lakes are off‐limits to common people, so here is the only viewing point. The Soko (双湖) means "Twin lakes" in Japanese. In Akan Mashu National Park, only Sokodai Parking Area (双湖台駐車帯) is on the site. A building for taking a rest and a public restroom used to be, but those are not used at present. Unfortunately, this place is not lively as a tourist attraction. Admission free. The parking lot is free of charge. By the way, the Akan Odan National Route connecting Akan with Teshikaga town has a lot of sharp curves, so it is popular with tourist motorbike riders and driving lovers. Drive safety! Article is here
Sogakudai Lookout (双岳台) in Kushiro city is around 15 km away from Lake Akan, and is well-known as a viewing point to see Mt. Oakandake (雄阿寒岳) and Mt. Meakandake (雌阿寒岳) on the top of a pass at 740 m above sea level along Akan Odan National Route (阿寒横断道路 * National Route 241). The Sogaku means "Twin mountains" in Japanese. Except Sogakudai Parking Area (双岳台駐車帯), there is no facility. Admission free. The parking area is free of charge. By the way, the Akan Odan National Route connecting Akan with Teshikaga town has a lot of sharp curves, so it is popular with tourist motorbike riders and driving lovers. Drive safety! Article is here
Fall Foliage in Akan Lakeside
Lakeside around the Lake Akan is famous for fall foliage, too. Especially, Takiguchi (滝口), Tsurumi Bridge (鶴見橋) and Lake Taro (太郎湖) are famous, and a combination of a stream and the fall foliage seems to be very good. But I have never visited. The best time to see is from early October to mid October.
List of Onsen around Lake Akan
There is the Akanko Onsen. My visited onsen are as follows.
Akanko Onsen (阿寒湖温泉) is a hot-spring resort in the south side of Lake Akan (阿寒湖) located between Kushiro city and Abashiri city, and is the largest hot-spring resort in Eastern Hokkaido, and is a base for sightseeing of Akan Mashu Natioanl Park (阿寒摩周国立公園), and 1.5 million people visit here annually. It has a long history, and Ainu people had already used hot springs in 1858. After that, it is said that the origin of the Akanko Onsen is that a ryokan was built in 1912. About 20 accommodations are built at the Akanko Onsen, and huge buildings catch people's eyes. Maeda-Ippoen Foundation (前田一歩園財団) owns almost lands and the hot springs of the Akanko Onsen, and provides the hot springs gushed from 13 hot spring sources to hot spring facilities and private houses. Without mixing the hot springs gushed out from 13 hot spring sources, the hot springs are slightly different depending on the hot spring facilities. Therefore, visitors can enjoy difference in the hot springs at various hot spring facilities. By the way, the largeest Ainu Kotan (アイヌコタン) in Hokkaido is formed thanks to Mrs. Mitsuko Maeda (前田光子), the 3rd-generation president of the Maeda-Ippoen Foundation. Article is here
List of Tasty Restaurants around Lake Akan
The Lake Akan is well-known for venison, speciality food, and Akan Grilled Venison Rice Bowl, local speciality food, is created, too. Pan-de-Pan (パン・デ・パン) and Folk Cafe Poronno (民芸喫茶 ポロンノ) are popular in particular.
Akan Grilled Venison Rice Bowl
Akan Grilled Venison Rice Bowl (阿寒やきとり丼) is a new noted product of Lake Akan. I visited a Restaurant Kisen (レストラン汽船) to eat it. There was a parking lot beside a building. I stopped car there and went to the restaurant on second floor. Article is here
List of Activities
Canoing, snowshoe trekking in the winter and pond smelt fishing are held by some acticiity companies. Refer to following websites for the activity companies around the Lake Akan. You can get information regarding online reviews and photos.
|Akan Nature Center(阿寒ネイチャーセンター)||
|Akan Tourism Association & Community Development Organization(阿寒観光協会まちづくり推進機構)||
|Akan Nature Center(阿寒ネイチャーセンター)||
Pond Smelt Fishing
|Ice Land Akan(あいすランド阿寒)||
List of Accommodations
Refer to following websites for the accommodations around the Lake Akan. You can get information regarding online reviews and photos.
|Lake Akan Tsuruga Wings(あかん湖 鶴雅ウィングス)|
|Akan Yuku-no-Sato Tsuruga(阿寒悠久の里鶴雅)|
|New Akan Hotel(ニュー阿寒ホテル)|
|Akan-no-Mori Tsuruga Resort Hanayuuka(阿寒の森 鶴雅リゾート花ゆう香)|
|Akan Tsuruga Besso Hinanoza(あかん鶴雅 別荘 鄙の座)|
|La Vista Akangawa(カムイの湯 ラビスタ阿寒川)|
|Onsen Minshuku Ryougoku(温泉民宿 両国)||
|Hachiya Ryokan(八谷旅館)||Only Tel:+81-154-67-2747|
|Onsen Minshuku Yamaguchi(温泉民宿山口)||
|Onsen Minshuku Kiri(温泉民宿 桐)||
|Business Hotel Matsuoka(ビジネスホテルまつおか)||
A page of Akan Mashu National Park is here
Akan Mashu National Park
A page of Kushiro is here