Places to go Kushiro, Akan, Akkeshi, Nemuro (Kushiro Airport)

Experience an area steeped in primeval nature and the Ainu culture

Kushiro is the central city of the eastern Hokkaido area. The vast, unspoiled nature here is enough to make you forget you are even in Japan. The Kushiro Wetland is the country's largest wetland and was the first one in Japan registered in the Ramsar Convention. It is the native habitat of red-crowned cranes, a protected species. Lake Akan, famous as the habitat of marimo algae, is also home to the Ainu Kotan village, where indigenous Ainu people live, letting you experience their traditions and culture up close. The Hanasaki Line is a rail route headed eastbound from Kushiro, and gives you a glimpse of the dynamism of Japan's nature. On your way, you'll pass through Akkeshi, famous for delicious, sweet oysters available year-round, and Hamanaka, which produces high-quality milk that is used in the ice cream produced by major brands. Finally, you'll reach Nemuro, the town closest to the sunrise on the horizon. At Nemuro, you'll find Cape Nosappu, which gives views onto the Southern Kuril Islands.