Mashu, Kawayu and Akan Area
Relax in a hot spring, visit picturesque lakes and experience Ainu culture.
Akan-Mashu National Park is home to several crater lakes formed by volcanic activity. Both Lake Mashu and Lake Akan have been awarded three stars by the Michelin Green Guide Japan.
Lake Mashu is known as one of the most transparent lakes in the world. The lake’s vivid blue color, is referred to as “mashu blue,” hence the name. Near Lake Kussharo, the largest crater lake in Japan, is Mt. Io. Here, you’ll find sulfuric steam rising into the sky, and the highly acidic Kawayu Hot Springs.
The hot springs on Lake Akan are one of the most significant among those found in Hokkaido. Marimo, a sphere-like moss ball, live in the depths of Lake Akan and are only found in a few areas around the world. At the hot spring village on Lake Akan is a “kotan,” Ainu for “small village,” where visitors can learn about the lifestyle and culture of the Ainu people.
Traditional Ainu dances, which UNESCO has listed as an “Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property, and an Intangible Cultural Asset,” can be viewed inside Ikoro, the Lake Akan Ainu Theater. Here, visitors can take part in one of the largest events, the Iomante Fire Festival.