Halfway between Kushiro and Nemuro, the serenely coastal town of Akkeshi (厚岸町) is designated as a prefectural natural park.
This town is actually the oldest port in Eastern Hokkaido, the Matsumae clan established a trading post in the 1600s. The town is set on a pleasant gulf coast leading to the brackish lake Akkeshi-ko (厚岸湖), best-known for both its tasty kaki (牡蠣: oyster) and asari (アサリ: clam).
Points of interests in Akkeshi
All trains from Kushiro on the JR Nemuro Line (also called the JR Hanasaki Line) stop at both Akkeshi (8 daily; 50min). From JR Akkeshi Station, bus 26 and 404 runs to Kokutai-ji (6-9 daily; 10min).
Rental bicycles are available from Kushiro Bus station at Akkeshi (くしろバス厚岸営業所: Tel 0153-52-2034) to the right as you leave the train station.
The 456m, red-colored Akkeshi-ohashi (厚岸大橋) is the town’s iconic bridge over the bay. You can see Kaki-jima (oyster islet) and its shrine on the lake from the sidewalks.
(国泰寺) At the foot of Barasan-misaki, Kokutai-ji is Eastern Hokkaido’s oldest temple established in 1804 by the Edo shogunate. The temple precinct and its cape makes for a pleasant stroll. A Kushiro-Kiritappu bus stops here.
Akkeshi Folk Museum
(厚岸町郷土館) Situated in front of Kokutai-ji, this seasonal small museum contains historical materials, artifacts of Kokutai-ji and Akkeshi Jinja. It is open from 16 April to 15 November each year.
Akkeshi Maritime Memorial Hall
(厚岸町海事記念館) Opposite the town hall is this small maritime museum with displays on the local fishing community and history. It also exhibits relics of Tasmanian whaling ship that went down off Akkeshi in 1850.