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Credit:Akan Ainu Crafts Cooperative

Ainu Cultural Experience

Nature and culture intertwine on this Ainu-led walk through Lake Akan’s woods

Based up north in Hokkaido, the Ainu are one of Japan’s indigenous peoples. Since ancient times, their own unique culture has emphasized harmony with and profound respect for nature, as the Ainu believe that deities called kamuy reside in every natural being and object. The Ainu live a sustainable lifestyle, taking only what they need from the forests and waters that give them life, and constantly showing their appreciation to the kamuy for their bounty.
By the shore of Lake Akan, which is home to an Ainu settlement, explore the surrounding woods with an Ainu guide. Near Akanko Onsen, you’ll walk through a forest that the Ainu consider an iwor — traditional territory. Before you set foot on it, your guide will invite you to participate in a kamuy-nomi, a prayer rite for safe travels. Then, you’ll trek a gentle, scenic trail that offers glimpses of majestic Mt. Oakan. Midway, your guide will delight you with melodies played on a traditional instrument called a mukkuri. Finally, the tour will come to a close with photo opportunities in Ainu attire.
This is a valuable opportunity to glimpse the Ainu culture and lifestyle while learning directly from an Ainu guide.

Credit Photo1-3:Akan Ainu Crafts Cooperative

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