Jun 29, 2020 | By: Japan Dreamscapes Photography Tours
Lake Mashu is located in Akan National park on Japan's, northern island Hokkaido. I have a summer cottage in the area, and I usually would be there this time of year leading a Hokkaido photo tour for early summer visitors. This summer, I am spending at my traditional Japanese home office studio in Niigata prefecture a kilometer from a beautiful beach on the sea of Japan. I am currently in Niigata, leading a private Japan photo tour and scouting the highlands bordering Niigata and Nagano Prefectures about a 100km away from Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park. Fortunately, in the area I am, and most of Japan, there are wild Japanese Macaques (nicknamed the snow monkeys, because they are the most northern living non-human primate living in the wild), The ordinary tourist visits the snow monkey park, for easy access to the monkeys and hot springs. Hokkaido and Lake Mashuko have no Japanese macaques as the climate is similar to Alaska, and in the winter, the mercury/temperature drops easily to a -30℃ in the Mashuko region. Mashuko is one of the cleanest and clearest freshwater lakes on our planet, with visibility up to 30-40 meters. Lake Mashu is an endorheic crater lake that does not drain into the Ocean and has steep crater walls 200m (655 ft high). There are no access roads to the lake, only hiking trails, and motorized boats are allowed on the lake. The maximum depth of the lake is 211.5 m (694 ft.) The caldera is beautiful, as you can see from my fly over image, on this newsletter. It’s the remains of a stratovolcano, which is a sits along the rim of the more massive Mashū caldera, which is a volcano on the rim of the even more enormous Kussharo caldera in northeastern Hokkaido. I am hoping to make it north to Hokkaido this summer for at least two weeks, to visit Mashuko and spend some quality time with friends and family sharing evenings around the campfire. Several of my closest friend in Hokkaido are Ainu, the first nations people of Japan. In the Ainu language, Lake Mashu is known as 'Kintan Kamui Toh,' which means the lake of mountain's God. For the Japanese and many visitors, Lake Mashu has it's folklore and is known as a PowerPoint and a place of immense mystery. I love spending time and sharing stories with my Ainu friends; their beliefs and stories are similar to the first nations people of Canada and my childhood home, with Cree Land and culture, a little south of Churchill.