Akan National Park – Hokkaido’s Oldest Park

On the eastern side of the Japan’s northern island, Akan National Park is the oldest and biggest park in the country. Located in Hokkaido, this park holds many lakes and unique ecosystems, unlike anywhere else in the world.

Discover Akan National Park

Designated in 1934, Akan National Park, alongside its sister park, Daisetsuzan National Park, is the oldest national park in Japan. The park is separated into two different areas, Kawayu and Akan. Inside those areas are three of the clearest lakes you’ll ever see, Lake Mashu (摩周湖), Lake Kussharo (屈斜路湖) and Lake Akan (阿寒湖), and Iozan (Sulfur Mountain), known as sulfur mountain due to the smell.

Lake Mashu

Lake Kussharo

Lake Kussharo

Sulfur Mountain

Sulfur Mountain

The Akan Area of Akan National Park

The western portion of Akan National Park is the Akan area. This is the smallest of the two areas, containing Akankohan Onsen (阿寒湖温泉), and Lake Akan. Akan has many sources of hot spring water, including a natural hot spring waterfall called Onneto Yu-no-taki with a man-made hot spring catchment at the bottom, of which the public can use.

Lake Akan is a particularly famous area of Akan National Park. Due to the how the creator lake was formed, and its tides, some of the biggest marimo (algae balls) are formed on the lake bed. These balls can sometimes grow to the size of basketballs are showcased in a museum situated in the middle of the lake on an island.

Algae Balls

Algae Balls

The Kawayu Area of Akan National Park

The eastern portion of Akan National Park is the Kawayu area. Kawayu is the biggest of the dual areas and contains the other two lakes, Lake Mashu and Lake Kussharo, as well as the sulfur mountain, Mount Ito. Due to the sulfur fumaroles (an opening in the planet's crust) and the abundance of natural hot springs, the major township, Kawayu Onsen, gives tourists the chance to try these natural offerings.

For hikers, the Akan National Park features trails up two mountains to climb. The Akan Kohan ski ground in the summer has many different tracks that range from the short 550 meters to a longer 2.4 kilometers with many natural sights to see on the way up and down.

Mount Meakan in Akan features an 8.8-kilometer track going right to the tip on the volcano, letting you peek into the inside of the creator.

Staying in one of the Akan National Park Hotels

Whether you’re canoeing on the lakes, hiking up the mountains or relaxing in a hot spring, staying at one of the Akan National Park hotels lets you prolong your stay in the region. A majority of the hotels in the area feature hot springs on site that tap into the basin under the Akan National Park, with both public or private baths available.

Akan Tsuruga Bessou Hinanoza

As one of the Akan National Park hotels, the Akan Tsuruga Bessou Hinanoza resort in Akankohan Onsen has many facilities that’ll make you never want to leave. As a Japanese-style inn, the Ama-no-za and Umi-no-za rooms feature a lovely blend of Japanese and Western styles to give you the traditional experience with the comfort of home.

The rooms also feature spectacular mountain views from your very own private open-air hot spring. On the 6th and 7th floor of the resort are two public hot springs open to guest of the resort as well as anyone from the general public, for a price.

Check in for Akan Tsuruga Bessou Hinanoza starts at 2:00 pm. Check out is strictly at 11:00 am, giving you enough time to have breakfast and one last dip before you leave.

Spot information

  • Spot name: Akan Tsuruga Bessou Hinanoza (あかん鶴雅別荘 鄙の座)
  • Street address: 2-8-1 Akanko-onsen, Akancho, Kushiro, Hokkaido 085-0467
  • Access: About a 2 hours from JR Kushiro Station by public bus, shuttle bus is available from major JR stations and Kushiro Airport