In 2005, Lake Tofutsu was designated as a registered
wetland by the Ramsar Convention. Fresh water and sea
water mix in the lake. Various plants and animals live in
this place, making it famous for bird watching. One can
see about 250 varieties of wild birds through the four
seasons. Swans fly here in winter, and about 300 swans
live on the lake until spring.
The Lake’s name comes from “Toppu” (meaning lake’s mouth) in the Ainu language (language of the aborigines of northern Japan and Russia). The average annual temperature is about 6 degrees. It has sub-zero temperatures for a long time in winter, making it a very cold area for Japan. When Japan joined an expedition to the South Pole in 1956, it was the place where the first expedition team practiced enduring cold temperatures.
The lake has tranquil scenery, with cattle and horses grazing lazily in the surroundings. The Shiretoko Mountain Range rises on the opposite side, and a carpet of charming wildflowers bloom with the seasons in Koshimizu Genseikaen. You can see the remains of Ainu culture and Jomon Period pit-houses, showing that people have lived at Lake Tofutsu since long ago. Gazing at the quiet lake, you can sense the eternity of history.