Exploring Japan’s Natural Beauty: Mt. Iwosan and Lake Mashu of Akan-Mashu National Park (Hokkaido, Japan)

Aired: Nov. 26, 2020

Japan has 34 national parks throughout the country. This segment features the Akan area of Akan-Mashu National Park located in Japan’s northern region Hokkaido. Our reporter, along with park rangers and nature guides, explore the secret behind Lake Mashu’s clear water and blue hue, known also as “Mashu Blue,” and the history of Mt. Iwosan, which continues to emit sulfurous gases today.

Program reporter Janni Olsson enjoying a hot footbath in Akan-Mashu National Park
Lake Mashu in winter
Janni with Park Ranger Sasabuchi Kohei
Kamuishu, a small island in the middle of Lake Mashu
Mt. Iwosan
Sulfur crystals

Viewers’ Voice

Mt. Iwosan and the yellow sulfur mines were very interesting. The white winter wonderland was beautifully filmed and Kawayu Onsen looks very inviting especially after seeing all the snow around. I wish to visit this place in the near future.

From Bhutan

This segment opened with some amazing shots of the Akan-Mashu National Park. The zoomed, inset map graphic was a nice addition which, combined with the narrator’s thoughtful introduction gave a clear overview of the geography and geology of the area. Janni Olsson and Sasabuchi Kohei made wonderful guides and I loved the explanation of the Ainu God that is thought to live on the central island.

From the Netherlands

The videos of Lake Mashu’s deep-blue water were remarkably scenic, and the narrative explained the extreme clarity and blueness of the lake (which I liked because of the science content involved) and the legend of Kamuishu Island (which Ainu tradition says is inhabited by an old woman who became a god). The scenes of Mt. Iwosan’s sulfurous fumaroles were quite interesting as well, illustrating the source of the area’s long history of sulfur mining from the heavily volcanic region. The Akan-Mashu National Park looks like a great place to visit, and it appeared that our traveler had an enjoyable time.

From the US

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