Lake Kussharofillsthe Kussharo Caldera, which formed after a series of volcanic eruptions in ancient times. Volcanic activity is still visible at various sites around the lake. Along Wakoto Peninsula, volcanic gas is constantly emitted from the Oyakotsu-jigoku hot spring. The eastern and southern shores of the lake are dotted with open-air hot springs and unique places such as Sunayu, where digging into the sand along the shore causes hot water to rise to the surface. The relative warmth of Lake Kussharomakes it a wintering site for hundreds of whooper swans that migrate from Siberia. In winter, bathers can sit in the open-air hot springs and watch the swans swim on the lake right before their eyes.
Sunayu on the eastern shore of Lake Kussharooffers a unique open-air hot spring experience. If you dig a hole in the sandy beach, natural hot spring water gushes to the surface to create a warm pool. Visitors can soak their feet in the water while taking in the beautiful view of the lake.
The area around Sunayu can be enjoyed year-round. In summer, visitors flock to the shore to swim in the lake and go camping, while in winter, a whooper swan colony comes to Lake Kussharo from Siberia, attracted by the geothermal activity. Sunayu is a popular spot for photographers to capture shots of whooper swans against backdrops of fresh snow and frozen water. There are shops, toilets, and a campground nearby.
KussharoKotan (Kussharo Village) is an Ainu folklore museum located at the southern end of Lake Kussharo. Opened in 1982, the museum displays traditional everyday Ainu artifacts and tools. Visitors can try on Ainu clothing and take a commemorative photograph, try their hand at Ainu-style embroidery, and there are videos about the Ainu people. The KussharoKotan is a great place to learn more about the history, culture, and customs of Ainu people. The museum is closed for the winter between November and late April.
The Kotanonsen is in KussharoKotan. Located on the shore of Lake Kussharo, this open-air hot spring bath offers beautiful views throughout the year. It is a popular place to see the sunset. In autumn, visitors can enjoy the vibrant colors of the changing foliage of the surrounding mountains, while in winter bathers can sit in the warm water and watch whooper swans on the lake right before their eyes.
Three Viewpoints on the Kussharo Caldera Outer Rim
There are three viewpoints on the outer rim of the Kussharo Caldera. The Tsubetsu Pass Observatory, southwest of the lake, is situated at an altitude of 947m and is the highest of the observation facilities that overlook Lake Kussharo. To the north of the lake is the summit of Mt. Mokoto at an altitude of 1,000m and the Mt. Mokoto Scenic Viewpoint and Observatory, which was built into the mountainside. Bihoro Pass Scenic Viewpoint is located to the west. These three locations not only provide a panorama of Lake Kussharo, Nakajima Island, and Wakoto Peninsula, but are also known as superb stargazing spots on clear nights. With the exception of Bihoro Pass, all locations are closed during the winter.