The six most beautiful lakes in eastern Hokkaido   北海道東部の美しい湖

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The five lakes of Shiretoko

The five lakes of Shiretoko

Immerse yourself in the beautiful lakes of Hokkaido

These six large lakes in eastern Hokkaido will not fail to surprise and amaze you with beautiful scenery that you will not forget. Explore these majestic lakes in northern Japan.

  • Akan Lake

This lake occupies the caldera left after the collapse of the Akan volcano. Today there are still very pure waters in which the Marimo, strange balls of algae grow. From April to November, it is possible to take a boat trip (1 hour 30 minutes) on the lake to admire the majestic nature of Akan, the active volcanoes, Me-Akan and O-Akan.

At the lake's edge, visitors can discover Ainu culture at the Ainu Village, Akanko Ainu Kotan.

To read: The pleasures of winter at Lake Akan

Lake Akan

Lake Akan

  • Mashu Lake

It is said that this lake has the purest waters in the world, along with Lake Baikal in Russia. It is called the "mysterious lake" because the mists that often hide it make it even more alluring. The rainwater that the lake collects gives it ever-changing colors. It is a rare phenomenon that is not easily seen but will remain with you when you see its intense blue color. Three observatories are arranged around its perimeter to observe this natural gem.

Find out more: Ainu of Japan

Mashu lake in winter

Mashu lake in winter

  • Kussharo Lake

Here is the sixth largest lake in Japan in the hollow of a vast caldera created 30,000 years ago. Volcanic activity is always strong here, during harsh winters when everything is frozen, a small corner remains spared from frost due to a hot spring. Swans come to warm up there and tourists can test the Sunayu, by digging their own onsen.

Lake Kussharo

Lake Kussharo and its swans in warm waters

  • Lake Shiretoko

There are five lakes in the UNESCO listed Shiretoko National Park. In the Ainu language, shiretoko means "at the end of the earth", as you will finally feel isolated from the rest of the world, far from the pollution and the hassle of everyday life. These five lakes are located in the heart of a primary forest. To have access to this wonderful world, two possibilities are available to the visitor: a raised wooden walkway so as not to damage the ground of your steps (1.6 km round trip to the first lake) or the route of the five lakes on a 3 kilometers dirt road through the forest. You must register beforehand and go through an awareness session. Because wild nature is king here, the bear reigns supreme and the park can close if its activity is intense at certain times of the year.

Walk high in Shiretoko

Walk high in Shiretoko

  • Abashiri Lake
Located in the quasi-National Park of Abashiri, this lake overlooks the Sea of Okhotsk, famous for its drift ice during the winter. The Abashiri river leads you to its waters, a kingdom of rich flora and fauna, marsh plants such as white lysichite flowers by the thousands at the end of April, wild birds take refuge there to fish. Wakasagi freshwater smelt fishing and rowing competitions are also held in summer.

Read more: Abashiri

Lake Abashiri

Lake Abashiri

  • Shikaribetsu Lake

In Daisen National Park, you have to climb to discover the highest lake in Hokkaido. Shikaribetsu Lake is surrounded by the Daisen mountain range, which is made up of volcanic mountains. This is a magical place to experience the masterpieces created by Mother Nature. Take a visit to the Shikaribetsu Center, which offers activities all year round. In autumn, the koyo is incredible there. In winter, an ice village pops up on the frozen waters of the lake. A unique experience to stay in igloos, an ice bar and even a chapel. The ultimate experience is the open-air onsen with beautiful views.

Igloos and onsens on Lake Shikaribetsu

Igloos and onsens on Lake Shikaribetsu

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