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Lake Akan (Akanko) / Akan National Park / Hokkaido

(Lake Akan)

Lake Akan is a beautiful crater lake in Akan National Park. It is home to marimo, a rare algae species that forms itself into beautiful green balls.
Left alone for a few centuries, Lake Akan's marimo can reach the size of soccer balls. The algae have been designated a National Special Natural Monument.
The lakeside hot spring resort of Akankohan is the only town around the lake. It has several ryokan, some of which have hot spring baths with views of the lake on their upper floors. Several hotels open their baths to non-guests during the day for typically 500 to 1500 yen.

At the town's eastern end, walking trails lead through the forest and along the lake to bubbling mud pools known as bokke. The trails start next to the Akankohan Eco Museum Center where information on Akan National Park and its wildlife is available.
(Bokke mud pools)
(Marimo algae)

Ainu Kotan is a small Ainu village in Akankohan, which is basically a street lined by souvenir shops specializing in Ainu handicrafts. At the end of the street there is a small museum displaying traditional Ainu crafts, clothes and daily life utensils. Traditional Ainu performances are held in a hall next door.

Sightseeing boats leave Akankohan for 1-hour cruises of the lake, which include a stop at the Marimo Exhibition Center on one of the lake's islands and a ride into the more remote sections of the lake.

http://www.lake-akan.com/en/sightseeing/img/see_05.jpg http://www.lake-akan.com/en/ainu/img/b06_301.jpg
(Sightseeing boat) / (Ainu Kotan)

Two mountains near Lake Akan compliment the scenery and offer some longer hiking courses. Oakan (Male Mountain) and Meakan (Female Mountain) are both volcanoes whose eruptions formed the landscape around Lake Akan. Meakan remains active and frequently emits sulphuric fumes. Hikers should check with the tourist information center for volcano conditions.
(Mount Oakan)

Meakan's two trailheads are located on the west side of the mountain. Hikers usually depart from one trailhead and return via the other trail. Oakan has just one trail that starts from the eastern end of Lake Akan. Hiking either mountain takes about half a day. They are not difficult hikes, although sturdy hiking shoes are recommended. The mountain trails are passable between June and October. Outside of these dates, they are likely to be buried under snow.

How to get there

Lake Akan is about 75 kilometers north of Kushiro. Akan Bus operates 4-5 buses per day between Kushiro and the lake, stopping at Kushiro Airport along the way. Direct public transportation between Lake Akan and the national park's other lakes is virtually non-existent.

By car, Lake Akan is about 90 minutes from Kushiro and one hour from the national park's other lakes, Lake Masshu and Lake Kussharo, and Kawayu Onsen.

Access to the trailheads of both Meakan and Oakan is provided by the Akan RinRin Bus from July to mid October. The bus departs three times a day, making stops at the Oakan trailhead (Akanko Takiguchi), and the two western Meakan trailheads (Meakan Onsen and Onneto Campground). Buses between Kushiro and Lake Akan also stop at Oakan's trailhead.

There is a third trailhead for Meakan located just south of Akankohan town. This trail is significantly longer (approx. 6 hours one way uphill), but it does not require bus access.

How to get to and around Akan National Park

By TS on May 11, 2010
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tag : Hokkaido



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Author:T. SATOH