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Two National Parks

Akan National Park attracts visitors with its pristine landscape and rich natural environment created by forests, lakes and volcanoes featuring the three caldera lakes of Akan, Mashu and Kussharo, which were formed by the activities of the Chishima volcanic belt. Kushiroshitsugen National Park, which became Japan's first Ramsar site, supports diverse species in various environments, including Kushiro Marsh, the largest wetland in Japan, as well as lakes and the surrounding hilly terrain. Kushiro City, the central city of the Kushiro Area, is the only municipality in Japan that has two national parks. Moreover, each of the parks has completely different characteristics and appeal while being located surprisingly close to urban areas where visitors stay. The beauty and rarity of the area are special even in nature-rich Hokkaido, with the country's Special Natural Monuments, "red-crowned cranes" and "marimo lake balls" inhabiting Kushiro Marsh and Lake Akan, respectively. Having good access to Shiretoko National Park, a World Natural Heritage, the area is excellent for fully enjoying the natural beauty of Hokkaido.

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One of the World's Best Bird-Watching Locations

Red-crowned cranes in wetlands, Blakiston's fish owls and black woodpeckers in forests, whooper swans and greater white-fronted geese on the waterfront, the Siberian rubythroat and yellow-breasted bunting in fields, and Steller's sea eagles and white-tailed eagles by the coast. In Hokkaido, 430 species of birds, which equals about 80 percent of all bird species in Japan, have been recorded so far. The fact that so many bird species can be seen is the evidence that diverse natural systems are preserved in Hokkaido. In the Kushiro Area, as with the neighboring Nemuro Area, rare bird species such as Steller's sea eagles, white-tailed eagles and red-crowned cranes can be seen up close, and their diversity and populations evoke surprise and admiration in bird-watchers from around the globe. It is also a great appeal that visitors can reach the birds' habitats with short travel time from their place of stay.

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Dynamic Lives of Organisms

The diverse and various lives of organisms in the rich nature of the Kushiro Area are dynamic and yet very delicate. The wisdom of our ancestors has protected the fine balance to the present. The calderas that are among the world's largest, the nation's largest wetlands and the sea where the cold and warm currents meet. Supported by the rich environment created through miraculous relationships of rare natural phenomena, various animals and plants are living their lives to the fullest.

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Extraordinary Abundance of Hot Springs

With continued volcanic activity, the area surrounding Akan National Park enjoys a reservoir of hot spring resources. Numerous hot spring resorts that represent "hot spring kingdom Hokkaido" are also scattered across the area. In particular, "Kawayu-onsen Hot Springs" have compositions that are said to be among the best in Japan, while highly popular hot spring facilities are concentrated in "Akanko-onsen Hot Springs". Both are well-known hot springs, visited by many hot spring lovers in Japan. "Open-air baths" are especially pleasant, for they let you enjoy the continuous flow of hot spring water bubbling up from underneath, making you feel in harmony with nature. We recommend that you take a long, relaxing bath with the beautiful scenic panorama of the Kushiro Area in each of the seasons. * The atmosphere and composition of hot springs vary depending on the facility.

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Delicious Food to Remember Your Trip By

The kind of food that requires you to be at a specific place and at a specific time is probably the ultimate deliciousness people seek when traveling. Even for Hokkaido, which is referred to as the treasure trove of food in Japan, the Kushiro Area has a distinctively large number of top-class production regions for diverse and flavorful food including seafood products, dairy products, mutton, venison and wagyu beef. Delicious food that can be enjoyed only when you visit the place is sure to make the memory of your trip more vivid.

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Living on This Land with Nature and with Gods

The Ainu people have maintained their unique culture while in coexistence with nature. "Ainu" means human in the Ainu language. They called the natural world "kamui (gods)", rendering thanks to the gods for the gifts with a constant sense of awe and fear. The culture, history, wisdom and teachings of the people are still cherished and passed down to the next generation.

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