Kussharo Lake, situated in Hokkaido, is the largest caldera lake in Japan, believed to have formed from a massive volcanic eruption tens of thousands of years ago. It's part of the Akan-Mashu National Park. As you can see from the pictures, it's an incredibly vast lake, with even its shorter diameter measuring about 20 km. It's also famous for freezing over completely during the winter. There are numerous hot spring sources, and it's a spot not only for tourists but also for migratory birds like swans.
Location: 〒088-3341, Biruwa, Teshikaga-cho, Kawakami-gun, Hokkaido, Japan
Kussharo Lake's Sunayu (sand bath) is undoubtedly the most popular tourist destination around here. It's easy to find, with a large parking area. You can also enjoy a meal at the Sunayu Rest House, and there's even a campsite by the lake.
In front of the rest house, you'll find a blue dinosaur named "Kucchy," believed to be an unidentified creature similar to the Loch Ness Monster. Unfortunately, there have been no reported sightings in the 21st century.
There's something like a square-shaped bathtub by the lakeside. When I visited, it was empty, but it seems that at certain times, it's filled with either hot water or regular water.
Several groups of tourists are digging in the sandy shores. As the sign says, it seems that just a little digging releases hot spring water. When you hear, "Hot springs come out from the lakeside," it's hard to resist giving it a try.
Bench seats are scattered along the lakeside – a thoughtful touch. With no time to waste, I decide to give it a go and dig a bit. There's no need for a shovel; just moving some sand away using my bare feet for about 10cm, and there it is, hot spring water!
In fact, it's incredibly hot water. It's so hot that I connected the hole I dug to the lake to mix in some cooler water, making it a more comfortable temperature. Depending on the season, you could probably even lie down in your swimsuit.
Ah, it's so peaceful. After enjoying my homemade foot bath for a while, I decide to rent the swan boat that had been subtly catching my attention. On this day, there are very few tourists around, and there's no one on the lake.
It's a typical swan boat where you pedal with your feet like a bicycle. When I get on, I realize everything is really old!!
The pedals are heavy! The whole thing is leaning! Scary!! It feels like it's about to sink!
I took a few photos from the scariest swan boat that seemed to have been in use since the '80s. With a strong wind, pedaling those stiff pedals to get back to the shore was quite a challenge.
Today's lesson: Don't ride the swan boats on Lake Kussharo!
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