We waked up tired. It was cloudy outside and lake Akan looked moody through our window. We checked the list of best things to do in Akan Park. It seemed a good idea to take a day rest from all the climbing and hiking and maybe it would be nice to make a self day tour in Akan national park and see the other 3 main lakes.
Among the recommended things to do in Akan national park is Lake Onneto, about 15 kilometers southeast of Lake Akan. We Parked the car near the lake. Under the cover of clouds, the humidity felt unbearable and even the short walk through the forest was too exhausting. After a short brake near the emerald green surface of the lake we drove to the head of the trail that leads to the fall. We began with walking about 2 kilometers in the woods. Everything was quite, not even a bird. Suddenly, there it was – a green clearing in the woods, clear blue skies and the hot waterfall named “Onneto Yu-no Taki” . In the small information center nearby we learned that it is a unique waterfall. The water contain manganese and there are colonies of microorganisms that are being under constant research. Unfortunately one is not permitted to get near the fall and it can only be seen from behind the trees. The hiking back to the car was even warmer than before and with relief we turned on the AC and headed towards…
The road was taking us back into the clouds. With rather low visibility it was surprising when suddenly our eyes caught a movement in the high green grass on the side. We slowed down and made a u-turn. Sure enough, a beautiful female deer was peacefully grazing the grass. We held our breath and enjoyed the sight. Reluctantly we left the deer and drove into the thick fog.
Lake Mashu , a caldera lake, is called ‘the mountain god’s lake” in Ainu language. It is also nickname the ‘foggy lake’ due to the annoying attribute of being under fog most of the days. Nevertheless, due to our luck with the deer we were sure that we will soon see what is known to be the clearest lake in Japan. The lake has a maximum water depth of 211 m. Mysteriously, the water level has barely changes over time. The closer we were the thicker the fog hovered on the ground. Now we had low hopes but still went to the observatory. NOTHING!! We simply saw nothing in front of us. The fog covered everything. Disappointed we decided to go on to Lake Kussharo.
Surprise on the road
After a sharp curve we notice something walking down the road. We slowed and stopped. To our amazement, a red fox approached without hesitation and set near our window. It was clear that it has high expectations for food. We opened the window in the believe that it will run away but instead of running it sat quietly. Another moment passed and we moved slowly a few more meters and it followed us and sat with begging look. He was so beautiful with long tail and grave face and we felt sorry for him. Certainly it would get killed if it will keep walking on the road. It was hard to leave him and in the mirror we saw him approaching to the car that arrived from the opposite side.
When we arrived to the lake the sun was strong and clear. it was definitely time for ice cream. The surprise that this lake hides between it’s cold, calm water is that you can dig your own hot spring if you dig the sand on the lakeside. We took off our shoes and let our feel dug themselves a few centimeters deep under the sand. Wow…we jumped with the shock – 5 cm under the surface and2 it was terribly hot . The contrast between the coolness and the high temperature just beneath was bewildering to the senses. We enjoyed the relaxation and felt that we can call it a day.
The evening was dedicated to some pleasurable idleness in the hotel outside onsen .
Fineshmaker’s choice -Check our impression of Hotel Akan Tsuruga Onsen2