In the western part of Akan-Mashu National Park, Akanko Onsen (阿寒湖温泉 area is Eastern Hokkaido’s classic tourist destination that has picturesque lakes, coniferous forest, volcanic mountains, pleasant onsen and the lakeside Ainu kotan (village).
The triangle-shaped Akan-ko (阿寒湖: meaning unshakable in Ainu) is best known for its marimo (マリモ: spherical moss) into the lake. Marimo have been preserved from 1921, the north shore is only accessible by sightseeing cruises or special tours.
Akan Sightseeing Cruise
The sightseeing cruise on Akan-ko takes you to the Marimo Exhibition and Observation Center (マリモ展示観察センター) on the tiny island of Churui-to (チュウルイ島) in the north of the lake, passing through the mouth of the waterfall Takiguchi (滝口).
More info www.akankisen.com
(まりも湯) The town’s only sento (bathhouse) is small and inconspicuous, but locals and tourists like this 100% onsen. There is no locker.
Akan Kohan Eco Museum Center
(阿寒湖畔エコミュージアムセンター) This eco museum center at the eastern edge of town provide information and advice about Akan-ko area, including high-quality videos, volcanic conditions and marimo in tank. In winter snowshoes and cross-country ski rentals are available (¥500 for two hours, ¥1000 for a day).
From the Eco Museum Center, a short leafy trails lead to the mud volcano pool of Bokke (ボッケ) on the shore.
More info business4.plala.or.jp/akan-eco
Akanko Onsen (simply called ‘Akan-ko’ on bus timetables) bus center is located on Route 240. It has a convenience store (6am-midnight). Most buses are operated by Akan Bus. More info www.akanbus.co.jp
Akan Bus operates regular buses from Kushiro Station stop 15 to Akan-ko (3-4 daily; 1hr 50min), stopping at Kushiro Airport (1hr). There are also intercity buses from Kitami and Asahikawa.