Mizu-no-Kamuy ~KushiroWetland,Akan,and Mashu~ Tourism Area
The sea mists that form over the Pacific Ocean on the coastal region of the tourism area cross the Kushiro Wetlands and turn into seas of clouds or fog around Lake Akan, Lake Kussharo and Lake Mashu in the northern region. The lake water replenishes the surrounding area, becoming rivers that flow into the wetlands before once more returning to the ocean. The workings of Mother Nature form the base of the Ainu’s “Mizu-no-Kamuy” (spirit of water); experience the extraordinary in a world apart, by means of overwhelming natural surroundings and the Ainu culture that thrived there. A feature of this Mizu-no-Kamuy tourism area is the ability to directly sense the importance of “symbiosis with nature” symbolized by the “marimo” algae balls that continue to be protected here at Lake Akan, which – after becoming extinct in Iceland – is the only place in the world where they can be found.
Entry Program 01
Experience adventure and the accompanying Ainu cultural activities.
Visitors can experience at first hand adventures such as river walking and fishing at Lake Akan, along with the art, culture and lives of the Ainu that lived in harmony with the nature of this land. The theme of this tourism area is direct contact with the nature the region continues to preserve in this magnificent aquatic environment, as well as the history and culture of the Ainu that live there.
Activity contents 1
|Explore Bokke and visit the Eco Museum|
|Visit Bokke (boiling mud pools) – one of Lake Akan’s nature sightseeing spots – with a specialist guide and experience Mother Nature as she “breathes.” Afterwards, visit the Akankohan Eco-museum Center to learn about Lake Akan’s natural phenomena, such as Bokke and marimo.|
Ainu wood sculptures, Tsuruga Art Gallery Promenade
Activity contents 2
|Visit the Tsuruga Art Gallery Promenade and Ainu Kotan chise (houses), experience making and playing a mukkuri (mouth harp) and watch traditional dances at the Ainu Theater Ikor.|
|First, an introduction to the gateway to the Ainu culture by means of a guided tour of the Tsuruga Art Gallery Promenade, where displays of large-scale sculptures by Ainu art masters such as Takeki Fujito and Masamitsu Takiguchi are explained by Hideo Akibe, who is the executive producer involved in conveying the Ainu culture at the Opening Ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Then, visit the Ainu Kotan (settlement) on the shores of Lake Akan to see the chise (houses) made from natural materials, and the utensils and everyday items displayed inside. Come into contact with the Ainu culture, and learn how to make and play a mukkuri (mouth harp), which is a typical Ainu musical instrument. After dinner, enjoy traditional Ainu dance at the Ainu Theater Ikor. The evening program is also accompanied by Hideo Akibe.|
|The shore of Lake Akan is one of Hokkaido’s most famous hot-spring areas. Most of the lakeside hotels have outdoor baths from which bathers can view magnificent scenery of Lake Akan and the nearby mountains as they relax in the bathtub. Many of Akanko Onsen’s springs are simple hot springs (neutral hypotonic hot springs) known for their general therapeutic qualities and benefits with regard to neuralgic disorders.|
A scene from the Akan River walk
Activity contents 3
|Akan River walk|
|Experience nature while walking in the Akan River wearing waders.|
Café for lunch
|Lunch of traditional Ainu food at Poronno, a handmade folk-craft café in the Ainu Kotan.|
|Enjoy traditional Ainu food and original cuisine|
Fishing in Lake Akan
Activity contents 4
|Try fly fishing in the fly-fishing mecca of Lake Akan|