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Seeking Future Tourist Destinations
in Harmony with Nature

Akan-Mashu National Park Keijiro Suehiro

Seeking Future Tourist Destinations
in Harmony with Nature

Akan-Mashu National Park

This year marks the 90th anniversary of Akan-Mashu National Park, a national park replete with many attractive destinations. More renowned for its tourist allure than as national park status, the area boasts numerous sites: the hot springs town beside Lake Akan; the scenic vistas of Lake Mashu; and Lake Kussharo, a sanctuary for visiting swans. But amidst such splendor, how do locals interact with nature? This piece delves into the practices of the local residents, who have long served as custodians of this rich natural heritage. They seek a sustainable tourism model that harmoniously coexists with the natural world.

  • Guides
  • Keijiro Suehiro (Ministry of the Environment Government of Japan)
  • Location
  • Akan-Mashu National Park

01 A Prime Tourist Destination, Yet Close to Nature

Photographer Hinano Kimoto

Writer Takumi Sakurai


Toshimitsu Nida
Maeda Ippoen Foundation, Chairman

Since joining the Maeda Ippoen Foundation in 2008, Mr. Nida has been serving as the chairman since 2016. He describes the foundation's key initiative, forest conservation, as an "endless endeavor."

Shigeru Takada
Tsuruga Resort Adventure Division

Operating from "SIRI" within Tsuruga Resort, Mr. Takada is actively involved in various initiatives to promote the natural beauty of Akan. Additionally, he serves as a director of the Japan Adventure Tourism Association.

Isamu Wakana
Kushiro International Wetland Center, Akan Lake Cluster & Marimo Research Lab, Director

Mr. Wakana explores Marimo habitats worldwide, including Lake Mývatn in Iceland, beyond just Lake Akan. Leveraging his extensive knowledge, he is committed to unraveling the ecology of Marimo and focusing on their preservation and dissemination.

Hiroyuki Matsuoka
Chairman of the Akanko Tourism Association Town Development Promotion Organization

Besides managing the ski resort, Mr. Matsuoka also operates the historic Akan lakeside inn "Tohokan" and serves as the chairman of the Akan Tourism Association Town Development Promotion Organization. He has been a devoted guardian of Akan, having previously served as a council member for both city and town.

Keijiro Suehiro
Ministry of the Environment, Kushiro Nature Conservation Office / Akan-Mashu National Park Management Office / National Park Use Planning Officer

Mr. Suehiro's unique career, which started in banking, led him to the Ministry following a secondment to the Kushiro City DMO. He is currently dedicated to the development of the Hokkaido East Trail.

Tetsuo Tokunaga
Teshikaga Town Mayor

Formerly the representative director of the Mashu Agricultural Cooperative and vice-chairman of the Kushiro Regional Dairy Farming Countermeasures Council, Mr. Tokunaga has been the mayor of Teshikaga since 2000. His vision for Teshikaga is a community where 'water' and 'forests' are safeguarded, fostering a vibrant and proud town where 'people' thrive together.

Kenichi Miyazaki
Akan Mashu National Park Kawayu Area Management Association Vice Chairman

A pivotal figure since the association's establishment in 1980, Mr. Miyazaki is engaged in maintaining the hot spring river flowing through Kawayu Onsen and leading guided tours in Tsutsuji-Gahara. He also manages a darts bar at the Kawayu Tourist Hotel.