Located in Japan’s northern island, eastern Hokkaido, surrounded by stunning mountains, ancient volcanos, lush forests and crystal blue waters is Akan Mashu National Park.
Along with Daisetsuzan National Park, Akan Mashu National Park is the oldest national park in Hokkaido and boasts the longest history of any national parks in Japan’s northern island. The park features diverse terrains formed by volcanic activity, and is separated into Lake Akan and Lake Kussharo and there’s plenty to see and do.
For those with energy to burn can saddle up for a 180 minute downhill cycle starting at Uramashu Observatory, or tour Kussharo Caldera, Mt. Io, and Lake Kussharo. There’s also canoeing, and snowshoeing, or for the more refined traveller, there’s cooking classes and even pottery utilising earth taken from the volcano.
The culture of the Ainu people (the native people of Hokkaido), is also an intriguing highlight and their lifestyle and culture can be experienced at Akanko Ainu Kotan village and Kussharo Kotan village.
For a dose of relaxation and therapeutics, a walk in the woods around the base of Hokkaido’s only forest therapy is a must. You can even make your own aromatic distilled water using tree leaves gathered in the woods.
To finish things off, the world’s first ever night walking tour at a national park is compulsory viewing. A digital reproduction of the Ainu legend, the “Tale of the Owl and the Jay” comes to life on a nighttime stage in the woods of Lake Akan. Under the supervision of the local Ainu people, this walking tour is based on indigenous Ainu legends and highlights the importance of living in harmony with nature; and right about now this couldn’t be a more important message.
The nearest airports are Kushiro, Memanbetsu, and Nakashibetsu. All have direct flights from Sapporo and Tokyo.
Individuals (2 to 8 people) approx: adults: AUD$360, junior high school, high school, or university students: AUD$290; children: AUD$245; infants: AUD$120.
There are several itineraries and recommended activities available. All are easy to moderate and can be enjoyed by the whole family.