Superb view point for a limited time
Of the four mountain passes that access the Kussharo Lake, Tsubetsu Pass is the highest. The narrow road twists up and up through beautiful pristine forest, revealing entrancing new scenes at every turn.
At the top of the pass, a 2.5km-long side road leads you to an observatory built in the style of a medieval European castle, which stands at an altitude of 947m above sea level. After driving up the steep winding forest road, it feels like entering another world to stand on top of the observatory and admire the panorama stretching for miles before you; the deep blue colors of the impressively large Lake Kussharo, in the distance the vast expanse of the Okhotsk Sea and the pretty outline of the Akan mountain range.
The pass is particularly well-known for the “sea of clouds” effect that regularly occurs in the early morning from Spring through to Autumn. As the sun rises and the clouds covering Lake Kussharo are bathed in color, an unforgettable drama unfolds that cameramen from all over country come to witness.
※The pass is closed from November to late May for winter, so the observatory is not accessible during this period. Not accessible to large buses at any time of year.