Mysterious Experience: Lake Mashu
Among many lakes in Hokkaido, Lake Mashu is especially beautiful. Enveloped in a fog most of the time, it is referred to as “Kiri no Mashu-ko” (Foggy Lake Mashu) and cannot be seen often. Once the fog is cleared, the super beautiful Lake Mashu comes into view. It is 211 meters deep and boasts the clearest water in the world with the visibility of 41.6 meters. The mysterious deep blue color of Lake Mashu is called “Mashu blue.” The water level never changes even though it has no rivers flow into or out. Being surrounded by cliffs of 300 – 400 meters high, it does not let people come closer easily. There are three observation decks to view Lake Mashu. Please take a look at the mysterious Lake Mashu.
Outdoor Activities Resort: Lake Kussharo
After experiencing the mystery of Lake Mashu, have great fun at the Lake Kussharo resort area. Lake Kussharo is a large cobalt blue lake that lies in Kussharo Caldera, the largest caldera in Japan. Around Lake Kussharo, you can enjoy canoeing, yacht sailing, windsurfing, fishing and more. Canoeing is especially recommended. The only river that flows out of Lake Kussharo is Kushiro-gawa. The primeval river Kushiro-gawa is a mecca for canoeists and anglers. The riverhead area with its clear water has the remnants of the primeval time. Start paddling in the slow and gentle stream following the instructions of your guide. The river gently runs in the primeval forest. It seems as if you are in a dream listening to the birds and the sound that fishes make breaking water. Do not worry about never having done it. The guide will instruct you kindly.
After enjoying canoeing, it is a time for hot spring. You can dig your own hot spring at “Suna yu” where the hot water surfaces when you dig the sand on the lakeside. It also is nice to relax at the open-air hot spring “Kotan-no yu.” When you bathe in the Kotan-no yu, it makes you feel like you are bathing in the lake. Although this bath is a mixed bath, there is a big rock placed at the center separating the bath by sex. The night time is especially wonderful. Bathing in the hot spring under a sky full of stars, you will have a romantic feeling as if you had become a primitive. Wakoto Peninsula is shaped like a huge tadpole sticking out of the south of Lake Kussahro. The deeply forested peninsula has a nature trail. It takes about one hour to go around while enjoying the encounters with little animals like squirrels with your family. When you arrive at the tip of the peninsula feeling the wind blowing across the lake, there is “Oyakotsu Jigoku” (Oyakotsu Hell) where hot water is erupting with steam.
Going Further into Hokkaido: Lake Akan
Nestled in dense forests, Lake Akan still has more primeval nature than other part of Hokkaido. It is famous for Marimo (moss balls), a Special Natural Monument, and sockeye salmon. As it is situated in the volcanic region, hot springs are welling up and there is a hot spring town along the lakeshore. You can take an excursion boat to Chuurui Island and see Marimo in nature. Near the hot spring town, there is the largest Ainu Kotan (Ainu village) in Hokkaido. At the gate, two Ainu men and a big owl on top of the gate welcome you. Bears, eagles and owls were the god of mountain for Ainu people. There are “Onnechise” where traditional Ainu dance is performed, the two museums to introduce the traditional Ainu culture (Ainu Seikatsu Kinenkan and Mori to Mizuumi no Geijutsukan) and souvenir shops that sell products including wood carvings. carved wooden owls are cute and nice to have as a souvenir. The Ainu culture in which they cohabit with nature is a very beneficial reference for the people of today. Perhaps, it would be at Lake Akan that you feel the heart of Hokkaido.
The Chinese film, “非誠勿擾” (If you are the one), which was released in 2008 and later became a big hit was filmed around Lake Akan. It could be said that the locations in Akan might have deepen the love story even more. Also, there is Lake Onneto, one of the three secret lakes in Hokkaido, about 15 kilometers southeast of Lake Akan for those who are interested in the mystery of the great nature. Its emerald green surface changes the color beautifully depending on the time or the season. And walking on the trail for about 2 kilometers in the primeval woods that extend towards the south from Onneto, there is …. Good gracious! It is a hot waterfall “Onneto Yu-no Taki.” It is a Natural Monument and is a mysterious waterfall that generates valuable material of manganese mixing the welling hot water with the water of the stream and microorganisms.
Mashu Hot Spring Mashu Hot Spring Tourist Information Center Phone 015-482-2500
Kawayu Hot Spring Kawayu Hot Spring Tourist Information Center Phone 015-483-2670 Access 10-min by Bus (for Kawayu Bus Terminal) from Kawayu-onsen Station
Hot springs around Lake Kussharo
· Suna yu Suna yu by the Lake Kussharo Phone 015-484-2254
· Kotan-no yu Teshikagacho Kussharo Kotan Closed on every Tuesday and 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on every Friday
Lake Akan Hot Spring
Lake Akan Hot Spring was opened about 140 years ago. When the hot spring was found, the Ainu, indigenous people were using it. In addition to big hotels that can accommodate large groups, there are a variety of accommodations from comparatively inexpensive inns to high class Japanese inns (ryokan) to accommodate people with diverse needs.
· Akan-ko Hot Spring Tourist Information Center Phone 0154-67-2121
· North East Canoe Center Phone 015-482-5131
· Mashu-ko Hoshi Kiko (Lake Mashu Star Watching Tour) [Leave: 8:30 p.m. Come back: around 10:00 p.m.]
· Lake Mashu Somma Trekking Tour [Time required: about 4 hr. (round trip) ]etc.
· Teshikaga Dude Ranch Phone 015-482-4832 Open only in summer
Contact information→Local Village Hall, Citizens Division 015-482-2191
· Mashugaoka Park Golf Course, Tobetsu Riverside Park Golf course, Kawayu Onsen Park Golf Course, etc.
Tour Guide ASOBIYA Phone 0167-23-5910
· Free rental bicycles available in front of Mashu-ko Station,
· Free rental bicycles available in front of Kawayu-onsen Station, etc.
· Watanabe Dude Ranch Phone 015-482-5184