Enjoy red-crowned cranes, lake Akan, and the Ainu culture.
An overnight course from Kushiro Airport to Lake Akan

Lake Akan was born from the surrounding volcanic activities in the ancient times. It is well-known as one of the best tourist attractions in Eastern Hokkaido. Since the entire area is included in Akan Mashu National Park, Lake Akan is surrounded by rich forests. There are so many more attractions around this area such as a facility where red-crowned cranes, the special natural monuments of Japan, can be observed. Watch the video to plan your overnight trip from Tancho Kushiro Airport to Akanko Onsen.
An overnight course from Kushiro Airport to Lake Akan
Arrive in the morning at Kushiro Airport, the gateway to Eastern Hokkaido. Head north on National Highway 240 called Marimo National Highway. Stop by the rest stop and Akan International Crane Center, and then head to the Akanko Onsen district. From evening to night, enjoy the Ainu culture in the Akanko Onsen town and releive the fatigue of your trip at the hot spring inn.
▼ About 20 km (12.4 ml) via the National Highway 240 ▼
▼ A short walk ▼
▼ About 42 km (26 ml) via the National Highway 240 ▼
▼ A short walk ▼
▼ A short walk ▼
▼ A short walk ▼
▼ A short walk ▼
The videos are in Japanese only.
Starting from the gateway to Eastern Hokkaido, Tancho Kushiro Airport
The gateway to Higashi Hokkaido, where Tokyo, Kansai, and Okadama flights arrive and depart. With the launch of LCC / Peach of Kansai Airport flights in 2018 and Narita Airport flighs in August 2020, it has become a convenient travel base. The hotel has shops selling specialty products and restaurants where gourmet cuisines can be enjoyed.
Address: 2 Tsuruoka, Kushiro
▼ About 25 mins by car ▼
Find gourmet foods and souvenirs at Michi no Eki “Akan Tancho no Sato”
This michi no eki (rest stop) is a short walk away from Akan International Crane Center “Grus.” In “Crane’s Terrace”, you can have unique soft serve ice cream with paprika sauce on top and other snacks. The adjoined buildings are “Akan Marche” where you can find special local products, and hot spring “Red Berét”. It’s a great facility to have a rest and find souvenirs.
Add 23-36-1 Kamiakan, Akan-cho, Kushiro
▼ A short walk ▼
Meet red-crowned cranes at Akan International Crane Center, Grus.
This is the only facility for specialized researches in Japan to protect red-crowned cranes. It has an exhibition corner where you can learn about cranes. You can also observe red-crowned cranes bred in nature throughout the year at the outdoor breeding farm.
Address: 40 Kamiakan 23-sen, Akan-cho, Kushiro
Must-see spots on the way from Kushiro Airport to Lake Akan
Cherry blossoms at the former Kamitetsubetsu Elementary School
The cherry blossom season in Akan-cho is from the middle to the end of May every year. The area around the former Kamitetsibetsu Elementary School (currently Kamitetsubetsu Welfare Hall) is famous for cherry blossoms. During the season, pink Yezo Yamazakura (sargent cherry) is in full bloom along the road.
Address: 51-24 Akubetsu, Akan-cho, Kushiro
Hoar Frost in winter
The area from “Bokke Walking Trail”, “Michi no Eki Akan Tancho no Sato” to the ice cream shop “Akkanbee” is known for a winter phenomena, hoar frost.
Address: from Kamiakan to Nakatetsubetsu in Akan-cho along National Highway 240.
▼ About 45 mins by car ▼
Arrive at Akanko Onsen town. Go & see Marimo on “Akan Sightseeing Cruise”
Lake Akan, known for the special natural monument Marimo, has a hot spring town in the southern part of the lake. The tour cruise departing from the pier will take you to Chuurui Island where Marimo Exhibition Ovservation Center. Amazing views of nature including Mt. Akan and Mt. Oakan can be seen from the cruise ship.
Address: 1-5-20 Akanko Onsen, Akan-cho, Kushiro
Lake Akan in winter is full of fun.
The surface of Lake Akan freezes in winter, and then it turns to a leisure land called “Ice Land Akan” from January to March every year. A variety of attractions including snowmobiles, banana boats, and ice fishing can be experienced. The most popular one is natural smelt fishing that you fish in the hole on the frozen lake and cook Tempura. The taste of freshly fried smelt in the severe cold weather is exceptional!
▼ About 10 mins on foot ▼
Walk on a sacred power spot in Akanko Onsen, “Bokke Walking Trail”
It’s a lakeside walking trail at the end of Akanko Onsen town. “Bokke” means “boiling place” in the Ainu language, and is a mud volcano where mud and water are ejected from the ground by volcanic gas. You can feel the energy of the earth when it springs up from the ground. The trail is in a forest mixed with broad-leaved trees and coniferous trees, and Yezo squirrel and Yezo sika deer might show up if you’re lucky. It takes about 45 minutes, the length is about 1.5 km (1 ml.)
Address: 1-2-16 Akanko Onsen, Akan-cho, Kushiro
▼ About 2 mins on foot ▼
Have a break at “Onsen Kobo Akan” with Marimo sweets
A cafe located in the corner of Akanko Onsen town. It serves sweets unique to Akan such as milk juice with round clear apple-flavored jelly that imitates marimo, and Japanese pancakes, oyaki, with whole marimo yokan in it. You can either have a break and eat them here or buy them to go along with your hot spring hopping.
Address: 1-4-29 Akanko Onsen, Akan-cho, Kushiro
▼ About 12 mins on foot ▼
Feel the Ainu culture at “Lake Akan Ainu Kotan”
In this Ainu Kotan (a village), 36 households and about 120 people live. There are many facilities that let you experience the Ainu culture such as a theater that performs Akan Yukar “Lost Kamuy” using digital art, Ainu folk craft shops selling wood carving products. Why not go for a sightseeing around from evening to night after checking in at the inn.
Address: 4-7-19 Akanko Onsen, Akan-cho, Kushiro
▼ A short walk ▼
Stay at “Akan Yuku no Sato Tsuruga” with an open-air bath overlooking Lake Akan
The biggest hot spring resort hotel in Akanko Onsen town. It has an open-air garden bath which lets you feel Lake Akan right next to you, and a rooftop open-air bath overlooking Lake Akan and the Akan mountain range.
Address: 4-6-10 Akanko Onsen, Akan-cho, Kushiro
Must-see spots in Akanko Onsen town
Akandake Shrine
A shrine founded in 1883 in the Akanko Onsen town. It is said to have been the emotional support of the people who live on the shores of Lake Akan since ancient times. It’s believed to bring luck to tourists as well.
Address: 2-1-6 Akanko Onsen, Akan-cho, Kushiro
An enchanted night walk at Lake Akan “Kamuy Lumina”
Experience-based art performance using the latest digital art to enjoy on “Bokke Walking Trail” at night.

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