Lake Kussharo (ΘH, Kussharoko) is a beautiful caldera lake in Akan Mashu National Park. With a circumference of 57 kilometers it is the park's largest lake. Various outdoor activities, such as fishing, hiking, kayaking and cycling, can be enjoyed around the lake.

A further attraction are several outdoor hot spring baths (rotenburo) which are located along the lake's shores and can be used for free and, unlike most other hot spring baths in Japan, in swim suits. Note, however, that some of these baths do not look very clean.

A particularly nice spot to visit is the Wakoto Peninsula at the lake's southern end. The peninsula offers attractive walking trails through the forest, two more outdoor baths and some sulfurous vents at its tip.

Sightseeing Spots

Sunayu Beach

Hours: Always open
Admission: Free
This sand beach hides hot spring water just below its surface. Visitors can scoop out a hole in the sand and soak their feet while enjoying views of the lake. There are benches along the beach and the parking area has a few food stalls with refreshments.

Ainu Folklore Museum

Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
Closed: December to mid April
Admission: 420 yen
English: Moderate
Interesting displays and artifacts highlight various aspects of Ainu life, language and culture.

Public Baths

Ikenoyu Open Air Bath

Hours: Always open
Admission: Free
Ikenoyu Rotemburo is a lakeside, open air bath with nice views of Lake Kussharo. The bath is gender mixed and has limited changing facilities and privacy.

Kotan Open Air Bath

Hours: Always open
Admission: Free
This rustic bath is so close to the lake that it gives bathers the sensation of bathing in the lake itself. Sunsets are supposed to be nice from this bath. The changing facilities are limited, and the men's bath is separated from the women's bath only by a low stone wall.

Wakoto Peninsula Open Air Bath

Hours: Always open
Admission: Free
An outdoor bath (rotemburo) on the Wakoto Peninsula offers a nice view of the lake and relative seclusion. However, the water levels are sometimes low and the water dirty, making it somewhat unappealing in appearance. The bath is gender mixed.

Wakoto Peninsula Indoor Bath

Hours: Always open
Admission: Free
This small indoor bath is located in a wooden hut along the walking trail that leads around the Wakoto Peninsula. It is pleasantly secluded, but not always well maintained. The bath is gender mixed.

Getting there and around

From late January to early March (January 25 to March 8, 2020), there are very infrequent buses between Mashu Station, Lake Kussharoko, Kawayu Onsen, Mount Iozan and Kawayu Onsen Station. A 2-day passport for the buses is available for 1500 yen.

From late July to early September (July 27 to September 1, 2019), there are infrequent buses between Bihoro Pass, the western shores of Lake Kussharo, the town of Kawayu Onsen, Mount Iozan, Kawayu Onsen Station and Lake Mashu. A 1-day passport for the buses is available for 1500 yen, and passes for longer periods are also available.

During the rest of the year, public transportation around Lake Kussharo is virtually non-existent. The best means of transportation to get around are a rental car or a bicycle.

How to get to and around Akan Mashu National Park