4 days
Plan your visit carefully and allow plenty of time for your activities in the park. Always check the latest weather information, and avoid overexerting yourself if you feel unwell.


Visit a Fascinating Volcanic Landscape and Learn About Ainu Culture

Explore a dramatic volcanic landscape of active volcanoes and caldera lakes, and learn about the indigenous culture of the Ainu people who live in harmony with the surrounds.

Itinerary Highlights

  • Exploring the landscape by land and water.

  • Enjoying an evening forest walk with Ainu legends and stories.

  • Hiking to the summit of Mount Meakan.

Trip Overview

Enjoy a gentle paddle at the head of the Kushiro River
Explore the volcanic fumaroles of Mount Io
A guided hike to one of Japan's top mountains
Enjoy easy connections from Kushiro
Day 1

Enjoy a gentle paddle at the head of the Kushiro River

Catch an early flight to Memanbetsu Airport, which provides convenient access to Akan-Mashu National Park, and Shiretoko National Park. Rental car is the easiest way to navigate the area, and Lake Kussharo is about an hour south of the airport by road. Visit the Kawayu Visitor Center to learn about the local flora and fauna of the park and relax with a drink and snack at the onsite cafe before exploring the Kushiro River.

Drive from the visitor center to Somokuya, a facility near Lake Kussharo, where you can take canoe and kayak tours. Join a Kushiro River headwaters canoe tour to explore parts of the river that cannot be reached on foot. Paddle through transparent waters surrounded by forests and wetlands, and see spring water welling up from the riverbed at the crystal clear Kagami-no-Ma area (literally "mirror space"). The canoe tour takes you down the river on the gentle current, so it is suitable for all fitness levels. A van will take you back to Somokuya, so you don't need to paddle back upstream.

Drive back to Kawayu Onsen and check in to your accommodation for the night.

Day 2

Explore the volcanic fumaroles of Mount Io

Start your day at Kawayu Visitor Center for a guided hike of an active volcano. The slopes of Mount Io (Atosa-Nupuri) are only accessible with a guide. Discover the mountains distinctive features, including its fumaroles with billowing plumes of steam, dramatic rocky slopes, electric-yellow sulfur crystals and alpine vegetation. Note that the Mount Io guided hike is only available from June to October.

In the afternoon, drive to Lake Mashu Observatory 1 for views over the lake, before continuing on to Akanko Onsen. This lakeside hot spring town has a variety of accommodations. After checking in, relax for a few hours until sunset. As dusk falls, join the Kamuy Lumina night walk an interactive experience that brings together local folklore, digital art, and the natural beauty of the area. See and experience the Ainu legend, "The Tale of the Owl and the Jay Bird," come to life through projection mapping and creative scenography.

Day 3

A guided hike to one of Japan's top mountains

Start early for a guided climb to the top of Mount Meakan. Take a taxi to Meakan Onsen parking lot to meet your guide. Looming 1,499 meters high, Mount Meakan is an active volcano in eastern Hokkaido's Akan-Mashu National Park. With well-maintained trails to the top and amazing views en route, it ranks among Japan's top hundred mountains and is suitable for beginner hikers. Enjoy a guided hike taking five to six hours to the peak and back, where you can see and feel the volcanic power and admire the magnificent panorama of the surrounding park.

Return to your accommodation in the afternoon for a well-earned rest and dinner.

Day 4

Enjoy easy connections from Kushiro

After a good sleep and leisurely breakfast, check out of your accommodation and take a bus to Kushiro Airport. Enjoy shopping for local souvenirs and trying local dishes at the airport before your flight. Kushiro Airport has daily flights to Sapporo and Tokyo, and some less frequent flights to Osaka.

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