Akanko Onsen In Hokkaido - 9 Places To Enjoy Nature And Ainu Culture

Akanko Onsen is one of Hokkaido's prominent travel destinations. In this area, you can enjoy an uninterrupted view of nature at the beautiful Lake Akan, learn about the natural features of the area, or experience the fascinating Ainu culture.


Hokkaido is a prominent tourist attraction even in Japan.

There are several fascinating areas in Hokkaido including Sapporo and Hakodate. In this article, we will be focusing on recommended spots from the Lake Akan Onsen area, where nature has been left untouched.

1. Akanko Marimukan Tourist Information Centers


The Akanko Marimukan Tourist Information Centers are the facilities where the Tourism Association is based and act as the starting points to your journey in the Lake Akan Onsen area. There are many pamphlets related to sightseeing on the first floor of the centers, so go here to obtain Akan-related information.

Address: Kushiro, Akan, Lake Akan Onsen 2-6-20
Phone: 0154-67-2505
Website: http://en.kushiro-lakeakan.com/overview/2359/

2. Akan-Kohan Eco-Museum Center


The Akan-Kohan Eco-Museum Center features exhibits on the structures of the ecosystem and topography of the Lake Akan Onsen area. The famous Akanko Marimo (*1) are also on display at the center.


There are also other displays of birds and animals that inhabit the Lake Akan Onsen area aside from the Akanko Marimo.

Be sure to pay attention to the pattern drawn on the floor while passing through the center! The aerial photo of the Lake Akan Onsen area seen from above will make it feel as if you’re traveling through the skies of Akan!

Address: Hokkaido, Kushiro, Akan, Lake Akan Onsen 1-1-1
Phone: 0154-67-4100
Website: http://en.kushiro-lakeakan.com/things_to_do/2937/

*1 Akanko Marimo: A species of green algae. Known for its spherical filaments, it only grows in Lake Akan in Japan.

3. Bokke Nature Trail


Bokke means to “come to a boil”. The terrain of the Lake Akan Onsen area was formed by eruptions which caused hot springs to form. On this trail, you can walk near those springs.


Although we visited Akan during the spring, we worked our way through snow-covered trails to find a spot that wasn’t completely covered in snow. This was the only area that wasn’t frozen.

Address: Hokkaido, Kushiro, Akan, Lake Akan Onsen 1-1-1
Phone: 0154-67-4100
Website: http://business4.plala.or.jp/akan-eco/bokke.html (Akan-Kohan Eco-Museum Center, Japanese only)

4. Lake Akan Viewing Platform


The ski observatory is the perfect spot to view Lake Akan and Mount Oakan from the ski resort. Please be aware that this area is closed off during the winter.

Address: Hokkaido, Kushiro, Akan, Shurikomabetsu 4-4
Phone: 0154-67-3200 (Akan Tourism Association)
Website: http://en.kushiro-lakeakan.com/things_to_do/3811/

5. Lake Akan Ainu Kotan


The Ainu people are the indigenous people who have lived in Hokkaido since ancient times. Lake Akan Ainu Kotan is Hokkaido’s largest Ainu village. Here, you are able to come in contact with the history and culture of the long-established Ainu people.

Address: Hokkaido, Kushiro, Akan, Lake Akan Onsen 4-7-84
Phone: 0154-67-2727
Website: http://en.kushiro-lakeakan.com/things_to_do/2950/

Ainu Living Memorial Hall


The Ainu Living Memorial Hall exhibits daily tools, clothing, and more used in the past by the Ainu people. The memorial hall is a building recreated in the image of an Ainu home called a ponchise (meaning "small house") and has a sunken hearth, a feature that has become a rare sight nowadays.

Address: Hokkaido, Kushiro, Akan, Lake Akan Onsen 4-7-84
Phone: 0154-67-2727
Website: https://www.akanainu.jp/%E3%82%A2%E3%82%A4%E3%83%8C%E7%94%9F%E6%B4%BB%E8%A8%98%E5%BF%B5%E9%A4%A8/

Lake Akan Ainu Theater Ikor (Traditional Dance)


Traditional Ainu dance performances can be seen at the Lake Akan Ainu Theater Ikor. This dance was designated an Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property of Japan. Various types of dances such as those that express their joy and sadness with their bodies through song and dance, or those that express their respect and gratitude towards their ancestors and gods, can be enjoyed at the theater.

Address: Hokkaido, Kushiro, Akan, Lake Akan Onsen 4-7-84
Phone: 0154-67-2727
Website: https://www.akanainu.jp/%E3%82%A2%E3%82%A4%E3%83%8C%E5%8F%A4%E5%BC%8F%E8%88%9E%E8%B8%8A/

6. Lake Akan Tsuruga Wings


Lake Akan Tsuruga Wings is a hot springs inn located nearby Lake Akan Ainu Kotan. At the inn, you can enjoy a view of Lake Akan, the Akan mountain range, and delicious Hokkaido cuisine. The Nitai gallery, where traditional woodcraft works from the Akan area have been gathered together in the same building, is also a must-see.

Address: Hokkaido, Kushiro, Akan, Lake Akan Onsen 4-6-10
Phone: 0154-67-2531
Website: http://www.tsurugagroup.com/en/

7. The Lake Akan Sightseeing Cruise Mashumaru


The Mashumaru is a sightseeing cruise that circles around Lake Akan. An Ainu pattern has been drawn on the hull while Ainu handicrafts are littered throughout the ship.

For a limited time of one week during the beginning of spring, you can enjoy an Icebreaker Cruise where the ship moves through a sea lane while breaking the ice that had frozen over the lake’s surface due to the cold. Please be aware that sightseeing cruises do not operate during the winter when thick ice has formed over the lake.

Address: Hokkaido, Kushiro, Akan, Lake Akan Onsen 1-5-20 (Akan Sightseeing Steamship, sightseeing cruise departure pier)
Phone: 0154-67-2511
Website: http://www.akankisen.com/_eng/index.html

8. Traditional Ainu Food Café Poronno


Traditional Ainu Food Café Poronno is a restaurant where you can freely enjoy Ainu and local Hokkaido cuisine. Venison and salmon, once main ingredients of the Ainu cuisine, are used in many dishes at the restaurant. The Yukku-Don, which uses tender venison as an ingredient, and the Mari Mojito, a drink made in the image of Akan’s famous Marimo, are recommended items.




Mari Mojito

Address: Hokkaido, Kushiro, Akan, Lake Akan Onsen 4-7-8
Phone: 0154-67-2159
Website: https://www.poronno.com/ (Japanese only)

9. Onsen Kobo Akan


Onsen Kobo Akan is a café only found in a hot spring district where you can enjoy sweets or lunch while soaking in a footbath. The café’s signs feature the Zaribonara which is a carbonara pasta that uses signal crayfish, otherwise known as the lake lobster, from Lake Akan as an ingredient. Venison Pizza and Marimo Pudding, a perfect post-meal dessert, are also excellent items.

Address: Hokkaido, Kushiro, Akan, Lake Akan Onsen 1-4-29
Phone: 0154-67-2847
Website: -

In Conclusion

The Lake Akan Onsen area is recommended as an area where you can enjoy the cold and winter landscape typical of Hokkaido as well as the unique Ainu culture. The area is also full of very Japanese spots and events outside of what is featured in this article such as onsen and festivals, so you can definitely customize your trip to your own preferences.

If you want to go on a Hokkaido vacation and set yourself apart from others, then definitely please consider going on a trip to the Lake Akan Onsen area.

Sponsored by the Kushiro and Akan District Tourism Associations

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.