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摩周湖Lake Mashu

© Hokkaido Aviation Co.,Ltd.

© Hokkaido Aviation Co.,Ltd.

Shrouded mysteriously in a blanket of fog, it’s little wonder that Lake Mashu was originally known as the ‘Lake of the God in Mountain’ by the Ainu. Located in the heart of an active volcanic region and resting in the caldera of one一年中、湖面が霧で覆われることで有名な摩周湖。アイヌの人々に「キンタン・カムイ・ト(山にある神の湖)」と呼ばれていたことにも納得する神秘的な魅力がある。湖面は時間や季節により様々な表情を見せ、引き込まれるような不思議な美しさは、人の心を掴んで離さない何かを生み出している。

摩周湖は北海道で最も古い国立公園の1つである阿寒国立公園内に位置し、過去に世界一の透明度を記録、現在でも世界一級を誇る日本一澄んだ湖でもある。湖面はその透明度と深さから独特のインディゴブルーの色合いで「摩周ブルー」と言われている。

現在は特別保護地区に指定されており、湖への出入りを厳しく取り締まることで、険しく、荒々しく美しい人の手がつけられていない自然の安息の場を守っている。湖を展望することのできる場所は南の第一展望台、西の第三展望台、北の裏摩周展望台。東岸に沿って歩く摩周岳登山コースは眼下の摩周湖、火口底、阿寒の山並みから知床の峰々の遠望など、湖の雄大な景観を魅せてくれる。

摩周湖の景観を空から楽しみたいのなら、北海道航空のオホーツクSkyクルージングがおすすめ。女満別空港から出発で、飛行コースは15~90分のクルージングを選べる。冬の知床の流氷、摩周湖、阿寒湖の俯瞰図は他では味わえない特別な時間を約束してくれる。

摩周湖
住所:北海道川上郡弟子屈町
TEL:0154-82-2200(摩周湖観光協会)
http://www.masyuko.or.jp

オホーツクSkyクルージング
住所:北海道網走郡大空町女満別中央258番地1 女満別空港内
営業時間:9:00〜17:00(火曜日定休)
TEL:0152-74-3705(北海道航空株式会社 女満別出張所)
http://www.hokkaido-koku.co.jp/memanbetu_ss.htm

Text: Bonnie Oeni
Translation: Asami Miyamura
, the lake carries a mystical, potent power within its depths. The lake surface also tends to change in colour, creating something compelling about the lake’s magical beauty that will draw you in.

Situated in Akan National Park, one of the two oldest national parks in Hokkaido, Lake Mashu is unique for a remarkable amount of things. It has been called the clearest lake in the world, and is one of the deepest in Japan. Its waters are also a shade of indigo blue so unique, it is called ‘Mashu blue’. As Lake Mashu is landlocked by steep crater cliffs of 300-400m high, no river flows into or out of the lake, making it one of the stillest lakes in the country, and possibly one of the most peaceful.

In fact, as the lake is protected, access to the lake is prohibited, making the lake one of the few rugged, wildly beautiful and natural havens in Japan still left pristine and untouched by civilisation. Visitors are only allowed to view the lake from designated observation towers on the south and north shore. Hiking along the Mashu-dake hiking course, a trail that goes along the crater rim and to the top of Mount Mashu, might also offer splendid views of the lake.

As Lake Mashu is part of a volatile volcanic region, check out other sightseeing spots close to the lake, such as Iou-zan (Mt. Sulphur), where you will be treated to a spectacle of nature at its most energetic. Mt. Sulphur still vigorously churns and spits out sulphur from deep within the earth. Then, to soothe your senses, relax at the Mashu Spa, the oldest hot springs spa in eastern Hokkaido. Located to open the spa in 1885 by the owner of Mashu Park Hotel, the waters are excellent to bathe in, ranging from a temperature of 26–96℃. They are also sensitive to human skin and full of healthy minerals.

Another way to enjoy views of Lake Mashu is through Okhotsk Skycruising, an activity offered by the Hokkaido Koku company. The course involves departing from Memanbetsu Airport for a 15 – 90 minute flight, depending on your choice, and provides an extraordinary opportunity to enjoy spectacular aerial views of Lake Mashu, Lake Akan, and the ice floes found on the Sea of Okhotsk in winter.

The nearest station to Lake Mashu is the Mashu station in Teshikaga, served by the JR Senmo Line. Mashu is on the Abashiri-Kushiro route, and there are around 4 trains daily to Abashiri (2 hours, 1980 yen) and 6–7 to Kushiro (1h 40mins, 1600 yen). The nearest airports are in Kushiro, 95 mins to the south, Nakashibetsu, 55 mins to the east, and Memanbetsu, 75 mins to the north. The best way to navigate around Lake Mashu would be to rent a car, as buses that connect points around the region are infrequent.

Lake Mashu
Address: Teshikaga-cho, Kamikawa, Hokkaido
Tel: 0154-82-2200 (Mashuko Tourist Association)
http://www.masyuko.or.jp

Okhotsk Skycruising
Address: Memanbetsu Airport, 258-1 Memanbetsu chuo, Ozora-cho, Abashiri, Hokkaido
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (Closed on Tuesday)
Tel: 0152-74-3705 (Hokkaido Aviation Co.,Ltd.)
http://www.hokkaido-koku.co.jp/memanbetu_ss.htm

Text: Bonnie Oeni
鄂霍次克海天空巡航
地址:北海道網走郡大空町女満別中央258番地1 女満別空港内
开放时间:9:00-17:00(关闭 星期二)
电话:0152-74-3705(北海道航空株式会社 女満別出張所)
http://www.hokkaido-koku.co.jp/memanbetu_ss.htm

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