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Lake Akan is the Perfect Escape From the Real World

Lake Akan is the Perfect Escape From the Real World

Date published: 18 February 2020

Lake Akan is a lake in the eastern part of Hokkaido, surrounded by mountains and forests. For ages, it has been home to the indigenous Ainu people, and recently it has become a popular sightseeing spot along with its hot springs.
With the theme of relaxing and enjoying deserved pampering at a local spa, we headed to TSURUGA Akan Yuku-no-Sato, a hotel renowned for the quality of its hospitality.

▲ TSURUGA Akan-no-Sato standing beside Lake Akan. It gives you the perfect time to relax with nature and the lake. (Photo provided from TSURUGA Akan-no-Sato)

Majestic natural scenery and Ainu culture: Attractions of Lake Akan Onsen

Lake Akan Onsen is an area located in the southern part of the Lake Akan lakeside, a 60-minute drive from Tancho Kushiro Airport and a 90-minute drive from Kushiro City.
Moss balls (called “Marimo” in Japanese) which were designated as a National Treasure are living in the lake. This area has not only nature but also examples of the Ainu culture which you can see at “Kotan” Ainu village.

▲The best located hot spring area surrounded by the majestic nature.
▲There are Marimo all over the world, but only the ones from Lake Akan grow up big and well-shaped. (Picture provided by Akan Tourism Association)
▲ Lake Akan Ainu Theater ‘Ikor’ performs traditional Ainu dance. You can have such a spiritual time there with members of the Ainu culture.

This hot spring area has an old history. When Bushiro Matsura, who was investigating Hokkaido, found the place in 1858, Ainu people were already using the hot spring.
After the Akan-Mashu National Park was registered as a national park, many people started visiting the area, helping the park develop as a landmark. Right now, there are a lot of hotels, restaurants and souvenir stores.

The hot springs’ quality of this area is simply rich in hydrogen sulfide and comes in temperatures from 38 ° to 85°C degrees (100° to 185°F). It is said that this material is good for neuralgia, coldness, fatigue recovery, rheumatism, chronic digestive diseases and hemorrhoids. You can enjoy seeing the nice scenery in open-air baths. Moreover, there are footbaths and handbaths all along the hot spring street.

▲ The “Handbath of Marimo” located on a corner of the hot spring street. It makes your hands warm.

Art inspired by great nature of Lake Akan welcomes you

TSURUGA Akan Yuku-no-Sato is one of the most popular and reputable hotels in this area. You will be able to spend a great time there with a wide variety of rooms and a heartfelt hospitality.

▲The entrance of the hotel facing the main hot spring street. (Picture provided by TSURUGA Akan Yuku-no-Sato.)

The hotel is located a 5-minute walk from both the Kotan Ainu Village and the dock. Behind the hotel there is the lake, and you can enjoy the view from some of the rooms and while you have a good time in the hot spring.

▲Two sculpture of the gracefully dancing cranes welcomed me in the lobby.

When I entered the hotel, the wonderful sculptures of cranes and owls welcomed me. These are the works of the sculptor, Mr. Masamitsu Higuchi. He admired a young man who sculpted a bear in Akan when he was young, and he moved to this place to become like the young man. Since then, as a woodcarving sculptor, he has continued making sculptures form the grand nature of Akan and Ainu culture, using driftwood and buried trees as materials.

His works are displayed all over the hotel. The sculptures seem to make you warm and heal your tiredness from the long trip.

▲Next to the lobby, there is a gallery “Nitai” (Free to enter). Also there is a show called “Katarite-no-Yube” talking about the nature and culture of Akan every day from 8:10 pm. (Picture provided by TSURUGA Akan-no-Sato)

Spend a luxurious time in 5 different styles of rooms!

This hotel has five buildings including the HONKAN (main building), BEKKAN (new wing), RERA and so on. Furthermore, various types of rooms are available for any occasion, from spacious guest rooms to Japanese rooms with private open-air baths.

First of all, we will introduce the BEKKAN Japanese & Western Style rooms (per room for two people, from 28,000 yen / tax is not included) with a large Japanese-style living room and a comfortable bedroom. From the windows, you can see the magnificent view of Lake Akan.

▲ The scenery of Lake Akan from BEKKAN rooms will make you relax. (Picture provided by TSURUGA Akan Yuku-no-Sato)

At BEKKAN, there is also a BEKKAN with Private Open-Air Bath rooms (per room for two people, 30,000 yen / tax is not included). Have your own time at the private open-air bath and enjoy both the beautiful night sky and the early morning silence.

▲Have the view of Lake Akan all to yourself while you’re in the private bath. (Picture provided by TSURUGA Akan Yuku-no-Sato)

“RERA-no-Yakata” is a building where you can explore the Ainu culture. The rooms are decorated with the Ainu inspired furniture. The unique atmosphere made from the culture will make your trip more special.

▲The RERA Japanese & Western Style rooms (Per room for two people, from 19,000 yen / tax is not included), with the mix of modern style atmosphere and the Ainu culture. (Picture provided by TSURUGA Akan Yuku-no-Sato)

There are also footbaths only for the guests on each floor of the “RERA-no-Yakata”. Why not to spend a special time with your partners, friends or family!

▲The footbath of the “RERA-no-Yakata” has a calm atmosphere.(Picture provided by TSURUGA Akan Yuku-no-Sato)

And for those who want to have more quality time, the rooms of the “KOMOREBI” building (the word is describing the sunlight filtering through leaves or trees) are highly recommended. Like the name suggests, there are elegant and beautiful rooms just like KOMOREBI.

▲“KOMOREBI” Japanese Twin with Jet Bath rooms (per room for two people, from 19,000 yen / tax is not included). A jet bath is installed on the window side, and you can have a great time to soak in a bath while feeling nature and the soothing air. (Picture provided by TSURUGA Akan Yuku-no-Sato)

Besides them, there are great guest rooms as well, such as the HONKAN and the "SHIORI-no-Yakata".

The best hot springs with majestic nature

Lake Akan Onsen is a hot spring area where the spring water sprouts with high temperature. The spring water will make your skin moister and enrich your heart. There are two public baths on the first floor and the eighth floor. These public baths for men and women switch depending on the time. Both of them have open-air baths, and you can enjoy different types of baths within each of them.

The large public bath “Tennohara” on the 8th floor is inspired by the Ainu culture. Besides the large bath, there are also a bath with gas, a sauna and a bedrock bath without extra charge.

▲ This is the only place where you can enjoy the Akan's hot springs and Ainu culture. (Picture provided by TSURUGA Akan Yuku-no-Sato)
▲Feel refreshed from the inside of your body in the bedrock bath using Akan-made spotted quartzite (operating hours: 2 pm – 10 pm, 10: 30 pm – 12 am) (Picture provided by TSURUGA Akan Yuku-no-Sato)

On the rooftop, there is an open-air bath "Tenyo-no-Yu" (Water of angels). The large panorama of Lake Akan will attract you. There is also a hot tub on the roof and a small pottery bath (closed during winter) this can make you feel as if you’re in a private hot spring.

▲The beautiful view of Lake Akan from "Tenyo-no-Yu". You can enjoy the hot spring surrounded by nature. (Picture provided by TSURUGA Akan Yuku-no-Sato)

On the first floor, there is a hot spring named “Houdegan”. There are 11 baths, including a garden open-air bath on the lake, as well as a cypress bath and a cave bath. Your body and mind will be healed by the soft spring quality.

▲The garden open-air bath, while you are in the bath, your eyes are almost at the same height of the lake surface, creating a charming scene. You can feel the soothing touch of Mother Nature through your body. (Picture provided by TSURUGA Akan Yuku-no-Sato)
▲Enjoy the varieties of hot springs in Houdegan! (Picture provided by TSURUGA Akan Yuku-no-Sato)

You can enjoy the large public baths for one-day (1,500 yen for an adult, 750 yen for a child from 4 to 12 years old. Operating hours are from 2 pm to 5 pm, the last admission is 3 pm). It would be good to come by during your trip.

By the way, there are large public hot springs of the chain hotel "Lake Akan Tsuruga WINGS" for both overnight and day trip guests. They are known to be of the finest spring quality with alkaline earthy spring that is good for the skin and the “Silky Bath” in which you can receive a gentle massage from the air bubbles (Operating hours are from 11 am to 5 pm; Last admission is 3 pm).

▲The story of the Ainu people is drawn on the wall of the large public hot springs. (Picture provided by Lake Akan Tsuruga WINGS)

The biggest attraction of this hotel is the amount of hot springs, much more than those of “TSURUGA Yuku-no-Sato”. Its hot springs are said to promote the metabolism and detox.

▲We can refine our beauty while being healed in the bedrock bath. (Picture provided by Lake Akan Tsuruga WINGS)

This bedrock bath is available at 1,000 yen (tax excluded) for the guests of either Lake Akan Tsuruga WINGS or “TSURUGA Yuku-no-Sato” and for the one-day guests it is available at 2,000 yen (tax excluded), the entrance fee includes access to other hot springs as well as the bedrock bath. You can relax your mind and body in a quiet space.

Buffet style and Japanese cuisines--dishes using rich ingredients from Hokkaido

Meals are also one of the greatest pleasures on a trip to Hokkaido. You can choose the dinner style from a buffet style or Japanese style in "TSURUGA Yuku-no-Sato”. Both dishes use the seasonal ingredients of Hokkaido.
In the Main Dining Room, Tenkawa, you can enjoy a wide variety of around 100 dishes, including Japanese food, Western food, Chinese food, sweets and classic Hokkaido’s meals.

▲ Since many of the dishes seem to be delicious, you’ll have sometime to decide which to eat. * The dishes may change depending on availability. (Picture provided by TSURUGA Akan Yuku-no-Sato)

You’ll be satisfied with the fresh seafoods and steaks made by the professional chefs. From children to elderly, everyone will love the food.

▲Local cuisine, Fried Wakasagi (Japanese smelt) that can be caught in Lake Akan (Picture provided by TSURUGA Akan Yuku-no-Sato)
▲Those sweets will raise your spirit! (Picture provided by TSURUGA Akan Yuku-no-Sato)

On the other hand, the Japanese food, using the local seafood and vegetables, has an original course created by the chefs of TSURUGA. You can enjoy the seasonal ingredients that can only be tasted here, including “Shunsaizen”, “Tsuruga Hotate Nabe” and “Do-san Gyu no Mushiyaki”, using the ingredients from the East Area.

▲“Shunsaizen” a dish where beauty and taste meet. (Picture provided by TSURUGA Akan Yuku-no-Sato)

There are “Marimo-zen" with the seasonal and excellent ingredients from Lake Akan and the Sea of Okhotsk, and the "Kotan-zen", a classic Japanese style dish.

▲“Marimo-zen” with red king crab (Picture provided by TSURUGA Akan Yuku-no-Sato)

Activities to enjoy nature and in the lakeside garden full of flowers

In TSURUGA Akan Yuku-no-Sato, they prepare various activities within the facilities to make your stay much better. Here we’ll introduce some of them.

In the lakeside surrounding TSURUGA Akan Yuku-no-Sato and the Lake Akan Tsuruga WINGS, has the “Alan Iomapu Garden” in which the Ainu culture and nature mix. There are “Kamuini” (Totem Pole) designed with Ainu pattern and “Dress Garden” in which it looks like you wear a beautiful flower dress when you take a photo in the middle of the park. From early summer to autumn, there will be a photogenic place and you can also enjoy the landscape.

▲Akan Iomapu Garden opened in August 2018. There is also a projection mapping (from the middle of May to late October) at night, and it may make you feel spiritual. (Picture provided by TSURUGA Akan Yuku-no-Sato)

TSURUGA ADVENTURE BASE SIRI is one of the travel agencies doing mountain activities like fishing, trekking, hiking and so forth. Even if you don’t have plans or know what to do in Akan, they will help you.

▲TSURUGA ADVENTURE BASE SIRI is located in between TSURUGA Akan Yuku-no-Sato and Lake Akan Tsuruga WINGS. An exhibition of the nature in Lake Akan is displayed in their office. (Picture provided by TSURUGA Akan Yuku-no-Sato)
▲They provide activities to enjoy the nature of Lake Akan, from beginners to authentic mountain climbing course. (Picture provided by TSURUGA Akan Yuku-no-Sato)

"TSURUGA Akan Yuku-no-Sato” where you can experience the best in its hospitality, rooms, hot springs, meals, as well as the beauty of Mother Nature of Akan and the Ainu culture. How about visiting on the way of your trip around the East Area of Hokkaido?

Check in: From 3 pm
Check out: By 10 am
Accommodation fees
BEKKAN Japanese & Western Style from 28,000 yen.
BEKKAN Private Open-Air Bath from 30,000 yen.
RERA Japanese & Western Style from 19,000 yen
KOMOREBI Japanese Twin with Jet Bath from 19,000 yen
These rates are per room and per night for 2 people.
(All of the rooms are Non-Smoking. Tax is not included.)
Hours: From 2 pm to 5 pm (last admission is 3 pm)
Entrance fee for one-day use: 1,500 yen for an adult.
750 yen for a child from 4 to 12 years old. (Tax is not included)

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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