AJT Logo

Hokkaido

Akan National Park

Japan’s second national park, established in 1934.

SHARE
View
Saved
Tours
View
Saved
Tours
Reserve
Tours
Search
Tours

Akan National Park

In 1934, Akan National Park was established along with Daisetsuzan and Nikko National Park. Akan National Park is the second national park in Japan. The national park was formed long ago by intense volcanic activities, which created the three ancient calderas that we know as Lake Akan, Lake Kussharo and Lake Mashu. Southwest of Lake Akan is a small body of water called Lake Onneto and is known as a lake of five colors. It is referred to as such because the surface of the lake changes depending on where you look at it from and weather. These lakes are also famous for their crystal clear water, which Lake Mashu ranks as one of the clearest in the world. Akan National Park covers a total of 90,481 hectares making it the second largest in Hokkaido. The mountain range in the park consists of a group of volcanoes such as Mount Oakan, Mount Meakan and Mount Akan Fuji, which are situated around the three caldera lakes. Since these are active volcanoes, visitors can see gases fuming from them like Mount Iozan. Due to the activity of Iozan, a great amount of hot spring water is produced and is the source for the Kawayu Onsen (hot spring). The park is also known for its large marimo (moss balls) that grow in Lake Akan. The clear water of Lake Akan allows visitors to see the marimo without much difficulty. All of this area is located in the eastern part of Hokkaido near Kushiro City and Kushiro Shitsugen National Park. Kushiro city is home to many kinds of birds especially the red-crowned cranes, which live in the Kushiro Marsh. Akan National Park can be broken into two sections, Akan and Kawayu areas.

The Akan area refers to everything in the southwest region of the park. Around Lake Akan is Mount Oakan and Mount Meakan and are referred to as Male Mountain and Female Mountain. Mount Oakan is called “pinneshiri” in the Ainu language, which translates to “Male Mountain.” On a clear day, hikers can see all the way to the Paketo area from the summit. Mount Meakan is southwest of Lake Akan and in the Ainu language it is referred to as “machineshiri,” which means “Female Mountain.” Between 1955 and 1959, the water underground became heated and created a phreatic eruption. About 500 meters north of the Akan Lakeside Eco-Museum Center there is boiling mud as a result of the volcanic activity. This area is called “Bokke,” which means “boil” in the Ainu language. There are a few observatories people can go to that provide amazing views of the Akan area. The Onneto Observatory is an ideal spot to see Lake Onneto, which known as the five colored lake. Sokodai has gorgeous views of Penketo and Panketo lakes amongst a sea of dark-green trees. The Mount Hakuto Observatory has scenery that includes Lake Akan, Mount Oakan and the Akanko Onsen resort. The area around Mount Hakuto has fumarolic activity occurring, which causes little snow build up. The Akan Lakeside Observatory is only open during the summer months and is located on the southern part of the onsen district.

Things To Do in Akan National Park

photo of Ainu Festivals

Hokkaido | Akan National Park

Ainu Festivals

The Ainu, in historical texts called Ezo, are indigenous people or groups in Japan and Russia.

photo of Lake Akan

Hokkaido | Akan National Park

Lake Akan

A crater lake within Akan National park; known for being the home of marimo.

photo of Experiencing Ainu Culture

Hokkaido | Akan National Park

Experiencing Ainu Culture

Ainu are indigenous people of northern Japan who are mostly from Hokkaido.

photo of Lake Mashu

Hokkaido | Akan National Park

Lake Mashu

Located in the Akan National Park and is known for having the clearest water in the world.

photo of Iozan (Sulfur Mountain)

Hokkaido | Akan National Park

Iozan (Sulfur Mountain)

Mount Iozan is an active volcano that was once used to mine sulfur during the Meiji era.

photo of Ainu Cultural Facilities in Hokkaido

Hokkaido | Akan National Park

Ainu Cultural Facilities in Hokkaido

Ainu are indigenous people of northern Japan who are mostly from Hokkaido.

photo of Akan International Crane Center

Hokkaido | Akan National Park

Akan International Crane Center

A museum, breeding center, and sanctuary where cranes can be seen year round.

photo of Lake Kussharo

Hokkaido | Akan National Park

Lake Kussharo

The largest caldera lake in the Akan National Park; a popular recreational area.

photo of Tsurui Village

Hokkaido | Akan National Park

Tsurui Village

Near the Kushiro Wetlands, known as the best place to see Japanese Red Crowned Cranes.