Akan-Mashu National Park
Lush forests and beautiful lakes cover Akan-Mashu National Park’s vast crater landscape.
Designated a national park in 1934, Akan-Mashu National Park is one of the oldest and most historic parks in Japan. It features three craters formed by the active Chishima Volcanic Belt: Lake Akan, Kussharo, and Mashu.
The narrow landscape scattered with three lakes and a volcano is a rare scene in Japan. Even now, the volcano blows ash into the air, and heats two of the more well-known hotsprings in Hokkaido, Akan and Kawayu.
Lake Akan is located within the Akan crater, surrounded by old growth forests of Yezo and Sakhalin firs. The peaks of Meakan and Oakan, the tallest mountains in Akan, and the beautiful Lake Onneto make the perfect backdrop for this crater lake. The lake is home to Marimo, a type of natural moss ball unique to the area, which has been labeled a Special Natural Monument of Japan. Visitors can observe and learn about this amazing natural phenomenon at the Marimo Observation Center on Churui Island on Lake Akan.
Located inside the Kussharo Caldera, is Lake Kussharo, the largest crater lake in Japan. Whooper swans winter on the lakeside, which is warm even during the cold months thanks to geothermal energy that warms the lake. Within the caldera, you can find Mt. Io, an active volcano that blows smoke and ash into the air on a regular basis.
Also, located outside the Kussharo Caldera is Lake Mashu, one of the clearest lakes in the world, which on a clear day, reveals a beautiful, deep blue color, known as “Mashu blue,” but can often be hidden behind a veil of mist. The lake is best viewed from the first, third and Ura-mashu lookout points.
Both Lake Mashu and Lake Akan were awarded three stars by the Michelin Green Guide Japan.