|From Tokyo:||2 hr|
|From Sapporo:||2-6 hr|
|From Shiretoko:||1-2 hr|
How to Get There
Akan-Mashu National Park in eastern Hokkaido is renowned for volcanoes, caldera lakes, unspoiled forests, wildlife, hot springs and the culture of the indigenous Ainu. The park has two areas: Akan in the southwest and Mashu in the northeast. Public transportation is irregular, so it's best to rent a car after arriving in Hokkaido, making it easier to reach and explore the park.
Japan's major airlines regularly fly between Haneda Airport in Tokyo and Kushiro Airport (95 min) in southeastern Hokkaido, or Memanbetsu Airport (105 min). You can rent a car at either airport and drive to Akanko Onsen or Kawayu Onsen—hot spring towns with nearby lakes that serve as tourism hubs of the park.
Akanko Onsen is about 60 minutes from Kushiro Airport or 70 minutes from Memanbetsu Airport via National Route 240.
Kawayu Onsen is about 70 minutes from Memanbetsu Airport via National Routes 334 and 391 and 90 minutes from Kushiro Airport via Naitonal Routes 53 and 391.
Buses shuttle between Kushiro Airport and Akanko Onsen. Seasonal buses run in summer and winter from Akanko Onsen to Lake Mashu and Lake Kussharo. Buses run from Memanbetsu Airport to Abashiri, and the JR Senmo Main Line links Abashiri and Kushiro, with a stop at Kawayu Onsen.
Domestic airlines frequently fly between Sapporo's Shin-Chitose and Okadama airports, and Kushiro and Memanbetsu airports, with flights typically taking about 45–50 minutes. By rail, the Super Ozora express service takes around 4 hours 30 minutes to travel between Sapporo and Kushiro. Buses run from Kushiro to Lake Akan, or you can take the JR Senmo Main Line from Kushiro to Kawayu Onsen. Akan Bus and Kushiro Bus each operate regular services each day between Sapporo and Kushiro.
The JR Senmo Main Line will take you from Shiretoko-Shari Station to Kawayu Onsen in around 45 minutes. If you prefer to drive, take National Route 334 from Utoro on the western edge of the Shiretoko Peninsula, merging with National Route 391 before reaching Kawayu Onsen. The journey takes around 90 minutes.
Private transportation is the best option for exploring Akan-Mashu National Park as public transport is limited in the area. You can still enjoy the park without a private vehicle, however. A few companies such as Akan Bus offer single- and multi-day trips that take in the park's most popular sights and points of interest.
The Lake Akan area is a great jump-off point to explore the Akan region, view marimo, go fishing or hike surrounding mountains such as Mount Oakan, Mount Hakuto and Mount Meakan.
Kawayu Onsen is an excellent base to explore Lake Kussharo, Japan's largest caldera lake; Lake Mashu, one of the clearest lakes in the world; soak in hot springs; or visit Mount Io (Atosa-Nupuri), an active volcano with sulfurous vents.