Oleh Santy Tobing
Akan National Park is truly a wonder in all seasons. In winter the lake shines as the water freezes over and the ice-covered crater lake can be traversed in numerous ways.
There are several unique and interesting sights and phenomenons inside the lake and around the area. The highlight of the area is Lake Mashu, knows as the world's clearest lake. Boat tours and numerous lake activities can be found around here. Bubbling mud volcanoes can be found underfoot. The "Marimo" are large and vibrant green moss balls famous to the area. Thermal waters mix naturally with Lake Akan leaving some parts warm even in the winter. The Iozan Sulphur Mountain is a smoking landscape that shows of the explosive force of the volcano.
Local area activities are numerous. The natives to Hokkaido known as Ainu have traditional folk concerts to display Hokkaido's rich indigenous culture. Canoeing along the Kushiro River is a beautiful and exhilirating experience year-round. Horse-led sleigh rides are available during the winter time.
Robata Barbecue is a local way of cooking Hokkaido fish over coal. For fish lovers this is an absolute must.
Wildlife in the area includes the rare tancho birds who put on vibrant mating displays and whooper swans that enjoy the warm waters near Kotan Onsen.