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Sightsee at Lake Akan with an Indigenous Ainu Guide


Tour the sights and explore a lifestyle unique to the Ainu people


Japan is often thought of as a monoethnic country, but there is more cultural diversity than many people realize. The Ainu are an ethnic group indigenous to northern Japan. When you visit gorgeous Lake Akan, located within the Akan Mashu National Park, you will have a unique opportunity to experience their traditional way of life.

During a 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 (“hunting ground” in the Ainu language) within the forest. The forest was essential for the Ainu, 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 of the Ainu around Lake Akan. 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 tour 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 one hour 40 minutes), then transfer to the Kushiro Airport Limousine Bus for Lake Akan (about one hour 10 minutes).



Lake Time – See the Sights of the Lake Cherished by the Ainu (The Akan Ainu Industrial Arts Association)


4-7-84 Akan-ko Onsen, Akan-cho, Kushiro-shi, Hokkaido


Approx. 2 hours 30 minutes




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