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Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide - Hokkaido - Akan National Park
Lake Akan (Akanko) 
# 1   of 5 most visited sights
in Akan National Park

jump to:   access  -  admission  -  ratings  -  links

Lake Akan with Mount Oakan

Lake Akan (, Akanko) is a beautiful crater lake in Akan National Park. It is home to marimo, a rare algae species that forms itself into beautiful green balls. Left alone for a few centuries, Lake Akan's marimo can reach the size of soccer balls. The algae have been designated a National Special Natural Monument.

The lakeside hot spring resort of Akankohan is the only town around the lake. It has several ryokan, some of which have hot spring baths with views of the lake on their upper floors. Several hotels open their baths to non-guests during the day for typically 500 to 1500 yen.

Bokke mud pools
Marimo algae

At the town's eastern end, walking trails lead through the forest and along the lake to bubbling mud pools known as bokke. The trails start next to the Akankohan Eco Museum Center where information on Akan National Park and its wildlife is available.

Ainu Kotan is a small Ainu village in Akankohan, which is basically a street lined by souvenir shops specializing in Ainu handicrafts. At the end of the street there is a small museum displaying traditional Ainu crafts, clothes and daily life utensils. Traditional Ainu performances are held in a hall next door.

Sightseeing boats leave Akankohan for 1-hour cruises of the lake, which include a stop at the Marimo Exhibition Center on one of the lake's islands and a ride into the more remote sections of the lake.

Sightseeing boat
Ainu Kotan

Two mountains near Lake Akan compliment the scenery and offer some longer hiking courses. Oakan (Male Mountain) and Meakan (Female Mountain) are both volcanoes whose eruptions formed the landscape around Lake Akan. Meakan remains active and frequently emits sulphuric fumes. Hikers should check with the tourist information center for volcano conditions.

Meakan's two trailheads are located on the west side of the mountain. Hikers usually depart from one trailhead and return via the other trail. Oakan has just one trail that starts from the eastern end of Lake Akan. Hiking either mountain takes about half a day. They are not difficult hikes, although sturdy hiking shoes are recommended. The mountain trails are passable between June and October. Outside of these dates, they are likely to be buried under snow.

Mount Oakan

Any Questions? Ask them in our question forum.

How to get there
Lake Akan is about 75 kilometers north of Kushiro. Akan Bus operates 3-4 buses per day between Kushiro and the lake, stopping at Kushiro Airport along the way. Direct public transportation between Lake Akan and the national park's other lakes is virtually non-existent.

By car, Lake Akan is about 90 minutes from Kushiro and one hour from the national park's other lakes, Lake Mashu and Lake Kussharo, and Kawayu Onsen.

How to get to and around Akan National Park

Hours and Fees
Akankohan Eco Museum Center
Hours:9:00 to 17:00
Closed:Tuesdays and the day following a national holiday, New Year holidays
Admission:Free

Akankohan Ainu Kotan Museum
Hours:10:00 to 22:00
Closed:November to April
Admission:300 yen (1080 yen for performance)

Lake Akanko Boat Tour
Hours:6:00 to 17:00 (shorter hours in shoulder seasons)
Closed:December to mid April
Admission:1900 yen (85 minute cruise and marimo viewing)

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User Ratings
Ratings for Lake Akan:
japan-guide.com Rating:
  outstanding  
User Rating (by 100 users):
74/100
  recommended

Best rated sights nationwide (out of 785):
605.  Lake Saiko (Fuji Five Lakes)   74/100
606.  Confucian Shrine (Nagasaki)   74/100
607.  Kashihara Shrine (Asuka)   74/100
608.  Wajima City (Noto Peninsula)   74/100
609.  Kobe City Museum (Kobe)   74/100
610.  Lake Akan (Akan National Park)   74/100
611.  Fukushima Museum (Aizu)   74/100
612.  Mishima Candle Shop (Furukawa)   74/100
613.  Ryozenji Temple (Naruto)   74/100
614.  Hirayama Ikuo Museum (Onomichi)   74/100
Most visited sights nationwide (out of 913):
250.  Ninja Museum (Iga Ueno)   298
251.  Eikando Temple (Kyoto)   298
252.  Nagamachi (Kanazawa)   292
253.  Shiroi Koibito Park (Sapporo)   292
254.  Lake Yamanakako (Fuji Five Lakes)   292
255.  Lake Akan (Akan National Park)   280
256.  Ninjadera (Kanazawa)   280
257.  Katsura Villa (Kyoto)   280
258.  Kintai-kyo Bridge (Iwakuni)   279
259.  Ogimachi Village (Shirakawa-go)   279

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Japanese Links
Akan Kisen
Official website of the sightseeing cruise operator.

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