5 days
Activity Level
★★★☆☆
Mountain climbing
7 hours

Volcano Hiking in Akan-Mashu National Park | 5-day tour in Eastern Hokkaido

This 5-day tour will take you through the Akan Mashu National Park. We will hike at Mt. Iou, the lava dome of Kussharo caldera, the largest caldera in Japan. We will also set our foot on the summit of Mt. Meakandake, the main peak of the Akan caldera. On this tour, you will experience hiking and gain insight into the lives of locals for whom active volcano is a daily reminder of the beauty of nature. We will explore a local hot spring town area and sulfur mining activities that owe their existence to the volcano. We will also enjoy nutritious local produce such as cheese with the locals.

With hills and mountains occupying more than 70% of the country, Japan is one of the world's leading volcanic countries. Akan-Mashu National Park, which has two caldera terrains of Lake Kussharo and Lake Akan, is one of the largest national parks in Japan. On this tour itinerary, we explore the active volcanoes and meet the people who live with them.

MAP

Kushiro city, Ashoro town, Teshikaga town

Highlights

People you’ll meet

No. EM000019 Volcano Hiking in Akan-Mashu National Park | 5-day tour in Eastern Hokkaido

Area Kushiro city, Ashoro town, Teshikaga town
Length 5 days
Price From JPY 340,000
Season June - October
Group size Minimum: 4 Maximum: 8
Activity level 3*★★★☆☆
Activities • Hiking
• Walking(or mountain biking)
• Climbing
• Cultural experiences
Meeting point Memanbetsu Airport (MMB)
Price includes • 4 nights accommodation on single occupancy basis
• 4 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners
• Snacks and refreshments・English speaking Japanese guide(s) ・The return train ticket from Obihiro to Sapporo
Clothing • Wind proof/ coldproof/ waterproof jacket
• Trekking shoes
• Clothes that are easy to exercise
Items to bring • Water Bottle
• Sunscreen
• Portable toilet
• Personal medications
• Travel insurance
• Sunglasses

Traveler’s Digest

DAY 1

You will meet the rest of the group at 1:00 pm at Memanbetsu Airport in Eastern Hokkaido. Once everyone is together, we will spend some time getting to know each other and acquainting ourselves with the program for our upcoming 5-day adventure before heading off to Kawayu Eco Museum Center to see the map and images Akan Mashu National Park.

We will travel by van for approximately one hour to Kawayu onsen town. Hot springs are one of the main attractions in this area. Kawayu is a hot spring town with a traditional atmosphere where the Yunokawa, literally “the hot spring river,” flows through the town, and the scent of steam and sulfur drifts everywhere. Please rest well with the 100% natural hot spring without any filtration or additives.

DAY 2

We will depart for the volcano hike from the Kawayu Eco Museum Center with a local nature guide. This area has developed a unique ecosystem thanks to volcanic gas and acidic soil. For example, on Mt. lou, we can find the alpine plant Labrador tea at an altitude of only 150 meters (492 feet), which is rare. The area is divided into different zones, namely: “coniferous forest zone”, “broad-leaved forest zone”, “azalea zone”, and “high pine zone”. During a short walk of 2.5 km(1.5 miles), we will get to see how the scenery is constantly changing on this beautiful mountain.

After some relaxing hiking, we will unwind at the Mt. Iou Rest House, where you will enjoy a catered lunch prepared by Lakeside inn Pension Kussharera, famous for its bread made with local natural yeast.

After lunch, we set out on the Mt. Iou volcano trail. Hikers are allowed here only if accompanied by certified guides. The last eruption was a steam explosion hundreds of years ago, and a unique sulfur odor surrounds areas. We can see yellow sulfur crystals around the fumaroles and feel up close how the heartbeat of the earth spreads throughout the mountain.

Upon our return from the volcano trail, we will head to Akan town by van. On arriving at the Akan Eco Museum Center, we will receive a short introduction of the Akan district to the Akan Mashu National Park.

DAY 3

Today is the day you will challenge yourself to set your foot on the summit of the volcano Mt. Meakandake. We start the volcano trail of Mt. Meakandake from the Lake Akan trailhead near Akan Onsen. It is an easy hiking course with a gentle slope. We get to enjoy the scenery of the volcano and the sulfur mining traces on the way to the summit of Mt. Meakandake.

Mt. Meakandake is a compound volcano with ten mountains forming a complex mountain body formed after repeated eruptions. The volcanic activity in this area started about 20,000 years ago, and it is still active today. The foot of Mt. Meakandake is covered with forests that consist mainly of Sakhalin spruce, which is rare in Hokkaido, and Abies sakhalinensis (Sakhalin fir). Descending to the Lake Onneto trailhead, we will try to dip into the hidden local onsen called Nonaka Onsen.

DAY 4

Today you will have a chance to enjoy the walking course around Lake Onneto, known for its mysterious blue water caused by the flow of minerals from the volcano into the lake. Lake Onneto is surrounded by a prehistoric atmosphere because of the virgin forest of Sakhalin spruce, alpine plants, and many mushrooms. You may hear the cry of the Black woodpecker, designated as a natural monument in Japan.

After a relaxing 4 hours walking tour, we will drive to the town of woods “Ashoro” for one hour. We will lodge in at a unique local hotel that uses larch wood from Hokkaido. Today’s dinner is an excellent opportunity to interact with the locals and learn about local trees and industries and enjoy local produce at a cafe made of Hokkaido wood.

DAY 5

We will wrap up the tour with a cultural experience at Arigatou Farm and Shiawase Cheese Factory (Arigatou means “thank you” and Shiawase means “Happy”). We will meet a local cheese craftsperson who continues to test new flavors rooted in the land of Ashoro town.

Arigatou Farm and Shiawase Cheese Factory produce cheese from cattle that graze all year round. As such, their cheese has a gentle taste with the scent of seasonal green grass. They use warm raw milk freshly squeezed every morning not to disturb the rhythm of nature. They manufacture their cheese carefully in a traditional copper kettle and age in a semi-underground aging chamber where the temperature is stable throughout the year.

The last meal of this trip is a BBQ lunch in front of the Shiawase Cheese Factory using the farm’s cheese. After the meal, we will hop on a van and head to JR Obihiro Station. From there, we will take a 3.5-hours train ride to Sapporo. We say our goodbyes around 6:00 pm at JR Sapporo station, situated right in the center of the city.

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