Lake Time

See the Sights of the Lake Cherished by the Ainu

Make an Ainu musical instrument and take a walk inside a forest.
See the magnificent scenery cherished by the Ainu of Lake Akan.

Lake Akan is one of the famous caldera lakes in Eastern Hokkaido, and is home to the marimo, a type of algae that has been designated a Special Natural Monument of Japan.

In “Lake Time”, you will experience making a traditional Ainu musical instrument called “mukkuri”, then take a walk inside the “iwor” (living territory) forest along the shore of Lake Akan. You will arrive at a clearing with a great view of the lake and the majestic Mt. Oakan. Here you can take a short rest and play the mukkuri while listening to the stories of the Ainu guide.

Make a mukkuri and march into the forest

In this tour program, you will first make your own mukkuri, a traditional Ainu musical instrument. It is a type of jaw harp made from bamboo that produces sound by pulling a string and vibrating the reed while holding it against your mouth. The Ainu used it to express the sounds of nature, such as the wind or the cries of animals. You will get to carve the reed and attach a string to finish the mukkuri.

After making the mukkuri, you will enter the iwor forest located not far from the Akanko Onsen area. Before entering the forest, the Ainu will perform a ritual called “kamuy-nomi”, in which they pray for safe travels inside the forest.

  • You will walk with snowshoes in case of accumulated snow.

Experience the culture of the Lake Akan Ainu

Together with the Ainu guide, you will go into the depths of the forest. For the Ainu in Lake Akan, the forest was a place essential to their lives. It was a source of their food, their clothing, and their tools. Making full use of the blessings of nature has become an important part of their culture that has been handed down through generations.

While taking a rest in a clearing inside the forest, the guide will tell you all about the folklore and beliefs of the Lake Akan Ainu surrounding this area. You will also get to play the mukkuri that you made earlier. Hearing it resonate in the middle of the quiet forest gives you the feeling that humans are indeed a part of nature.

See a breathtaking view of the lake and Mt. Oakan

The walking course in this tour is fairly easy, with little uphill or downhill slopes. But unlike the course in the “Forest Time” tour, you will advance further out of the forest to a wharf on the lake shore.

The sightseeing boats going around Lake Akan have always been a popular attraction in this area. As you catch a glimpse of the boats that have taken many visitors on board over the years, you will eventually arrive at a large clearing on the lake shore. Here you can enjoy a magnificent view of the lake backed by the imposing figure of Mt. Oakan. You can also listen to the unique Ainu legends surrounding the place. It is a blissful time that will bring you closer to the culture of the Ainu.

  • Depending on the weather for the day, you may be unable to see Mt. Oakan.
  • All photos are for illustration purposes only.

Information

Tour nameLake Time – See the Sights of the Lake Cherished by the Ainu
Itinerary① Meetup at Lake Akan Ainu Theater Ikor
② Mukkuri making
③ Kamuy-nomi (prayer) experience
④ Guided walk in the iwor forest (long course)
※Snowshoe trek in case of accumulated snow
⑤ Mukkuri performance
⑥ Picture-taking
⑦ Finish at Lake Akan Ainu Theater Ikor
Available periodJune to March (not available from April to May)
Start time10:00~
DurationAbout 2 hours 30 minutes
Meetup locationLake Akan Ainu Theater Ikor
※See map below for detailed location.
Fee(Adult/Child) ¥7,700 per person (tax incl.)
Age limit7 years old and up.
Children below 7 years may not join.
Children aged 7 to 10 years must be accompanied by an adult (16 years old and up).
If you are aged 11 to 15 years and joining by yourself, please inquire in advance.
ParticipantsMinimum 2, maximum 10
Included in feeGuide fee, activity fee, mukkuri making kit, tax, snowshoe rental (in case of snow)
Not included in feeTransportation costs to the venue
Reservation deadlineAt least 10 days in advance
Required items to bringComfortable clothes and shoes (or cold weather gear in winter)
※Some places may get muddy depending on the season or weather.
Convenient items to bringHat, backpack or other hands-free bag, rain gear
Payment methodPlease pay by cash at the Lake Akan Ainu Theater Ikor counter before the start of the tour.
Notes■Please be at the meetup location at least 10 minutes before the start time.
■The tour will be held in case of light rain. Free rental of raincoats is available, but please bring your own rain gear just in case.
■The tour may be changed or cancelled due to inclement weather or other circumstances beyond our control.
■This tour is conducted only in Japanese or English. If you wish to avail of guide services in English, please mention it in the reservation form.
■Since the tour involves walking on unpaved forest trails, children below the age limit may not join.
■The mukkuri making involves using sharp objects, so adult supervision of children is highly advised.
■Free rental of shoulder pouch (to carry the items to be used in the tour) is available.
Cancellation policyThe following cancellation fees will apply upon cancellation of a reservation:
・1 to 3 days before the tour date: 20% of tour fee
・On the day of the tour prior to the start time: 50% of the tour fee
・After the tour starts or no show: 100% of the tour fee (no refund)

Access map