After driving for more than an hour to Lake Akan (阿寒湖), it’s lucky that I arrived in time for the last cruise at 5 o’clock to tour around Lake Akan and meet the precious creature–marimo.
At first when I planned the trip, I asked on the travel websites about the transportation from Kushiro(釧路）to Lake Akan. There’s bus to go between these places, but the schedule was not suitable for me. I was questioned by many people about why I *had* to see some seaweeds. Honestly, it’s not my first time to go to Lake Akan, and I understood that most people tended to go to Furano(富良野) and Biei(美瑛) for flower fields especially summer is certainly the right time. I was temped at first–I’ve been to Furano and Biei before, and it’s definitely no hurt to visit them again. And it’s actually a lot easier of I gave up Lake Akan to go to Furano and Bie, and probably I could even afford to add Asahikawa (旭川), which I have been to before too. However, I finally decided that I would still go to Lake Akan, since as long as I wanted to go there, I just had to endure the inconvenience of the transportation. It proved that it’s not a difficult drive from Kushiro to Lake Akan.
Marimo is a type of green algae (毬藻、マリモ); they’re considered precious treasure of Lake Akan. The temperature and current are very suitable for these green algae to grow in the lake. Since these green algae photosynthesize and tumble due to the wave, they’ve grown into ball shape. It’s not always they can grow into the ball shape; it really depends on where they reside. Some larger ones need several hundreds of years to grow. The indigenous people in Hokkaido, known as Ainu, have composed songs for these green algae balls and even held ceremonies for them. I personally find marimo quite fascinating.
After the cruise and walk around these shops, I came back to my hotel nearby the lake to attend my dinner.
The hotel I stayed–Akankoso (阿寒湖莊) is an old hotel. Despite the decoration seemed a bit outdated, the quality was not compromised. The staff was very friendly and attentative. I especially looked forward to its dinner.
The hotel provides natural indoor and outdoor hot spring. I didn’t go to the outdoor one because I was so full after the dinner and decided to take the bath after 11 o’clock, when the outdoor one was closed. The indoor hot spring, however, opens almost 24 hours a day except a clean time between 2 am to 3 am.
After the breakfast, I still got some time to walk around the lake before heading back to Kushiro. There are quite a few hotels around the lake, including a very nice one–Tsuruga Resort（鶴雅リゾート）.
After checking out from the hotel, I received 2 pumpkin muffins from the hotel staff. It’s time to drive back to Kushiro and take train to Sapporo（札幌） and transfer to Otaru（小樽）… wooooooo… another 5-hour train ride… uh!