A Misty Port Town with Plenty of Bright Spots
Located on eastern Hokkaidō, Japan’s northernmost island, Kushiro is a historic port city with a strong fishing industry. Not as densely populated as Japan’s main island of Honshū, Hokkaidō is consists of 20% of Japan's land yet is home to only 5% of its population. Not surprising then, that the island is widely known for its stunning scenery, nature, wildlife, hiking, trekking, bird-watching, and fresh seafood, and Kushiro is no exception.
Mist and fog is not uncommon here—Kushiro is commonly known as the “City of Mist”—but that doesn’t dampen its appeal. It’s a vibrant capital city with a compelling history that reaches back to the legacy of Hokkaidō's indigenous people, the Ainu. If you’re lucky, spot killer whales, known by the Ainu as Repunkamui, “Gods of the sea,” that migrate just off shores of Kushiro. In downtown Kushiro, tour the Kushiro Art Museum, enjoy the view of the sunset from the Nusamai Bridge, or find a restaurant to have Kushiro Ramen.
Enjoy the freshest seafood from Kushiro Washo Market next to the JR Kushiro Station, a popular fish market and haven for sashimi lovers. Buy a bowl of rice and top with various fresh fish and other ingredients from shops and vendors along the way. Try famous Hokkaido crabs, salmon, octopus, salmon roe soaked in soy, or a slice of tuna.
Just beyond the city there is much beauty and many hidden treasures. Venture to Lake Akan, one of the most beautiful caldera lakes in Japan, one of three caldera lakes within Akan National Park, formed from volcanic eruptions ages ago. Its picturesque landscapes reward outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Surrounded by lush green forest the crystal-clear waters of Lake Mashu make it know as arguably the clearest lake in Japan, whose mirrored surface reflects the skies above.
Japanese Crane Reserve.
Japanese Crane Reserve
The mystical Japanese cranes were on the verge of extinction when more than 10 were discovered in the marshlands of Kushiro in 1924. Today the reserve is home to 20 red-crowned cranes in an effort to protect them and increase their population. Run by the Kushiro Zoo, the reserve offers the opportunity to see these impressive creatures, now officially recognized as a natural monument, and possibly even glimpse young hatchlings.
Kushiro National Park
Kushiro National Park
Venture to Kushiro National Park, the largest wetland in Japan. Watching the sun set over the Kushiro Marsh, is a popular activity, and there are several boardwalks, an observatory, and excellent viewpoints to explore. A habitat for the Japanese Red-Crowned Crane, the marshland also provides an opportunity for spotting these graceful birds.
In the Akan Lake area of Akan National Park you’ll find Akankohan onsen, a hot spring resort reached by boat. As a volcanically active country, Japan has thousands of onsens, Japanese hot springs, around the country. This onsen dates back to 1858 when it was used by the Ainu people. Learn about the history and unique culture of these indigenous people of Hokkaidō at Ainu Kotan, a historic landmark.
Kushiro, Japan At a glance