Use the

Planning a Trip to Japan?

Share your travel photos with us by hashtagging your images with #visitjapanjp


Sightsee Lake Akan with an Indigenous Ainu Guide


Tour the sights and explore a lifestyle unique to the Ainu ethnic group


Japan is often thought of to be a monoethnic country, but it actually has more cultural diversity than many people realize. The Ainu are an ethnic group indigenous to northern Japan. When you visit the gorgeous Lake Akan, located within the Akan Mashu National Park, you will have a unique opportunity to experience their traditional way of life.
During your tour offered by The Akan Ainu Industrial Arts Association, your English-speaking Ainu guide will first help you make a traditional instrument called a “mukkuri.” Made of bamboo and strings, the mukkuri mimics the sounds of nature.



Afterward, your guide will perform a “kamuy-nomi,” or ritual to pray for safe travels, before you enter the Ainu living space “iwor” (“iwor” meaning “hunting ground” in the Ainu language) within the forest. The forest was essential for Ainu livelihoods, as it was the source of their tools, food, and clothing. During your forest walk, your guide will teach you about the beliefs and folklore the Ainu around Lake Akan hold. Note that the walk is fairly flat, but if there is significant snowfall, participants may need to put on snowshoes, which are provided.
After your invigorating forest walk, rest while you play and listen to a mukkuri performance, and finish your tour by trying on traditional Ainu attire.
This will be an unforgettable time and rare opportunity to learn about this indigenous Japanese group, who have passed down their culture for thousands of years.
Access: From Haneda Airport, fly to Kushiro Airport, about 1 hour and 40 minutes. From Kushiro Airport, take the bus to Lake Akan, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.



The Akan Ainu Industrial Arts Association




About 2.5 hours




Please Choose Your Language

Browse the JNTO site in one of multiple languages