Ainu Kotan

Top choice in Hokkaidō

This collection of shops and households is actually the largest Ainu village in Hokkaidō. Residents make a living promoting their culture: dancing on the stage at Ikor, cooking pochie (fermented potato dumplings) in restaurants, and selling wood and leather crafts, made with traditional techniques and motifs.

In the evenings (May to November) there's a procession around 8.30pm to light torches around the village.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Hokkaidō attractions

1. Ainu Folklore Museum

0.03 MILES

At the top of the hill in the Ainu kotan, this small museum has changing exhibitions of contemporary Ainu artisan work, and sometimes thought-provoking…

2. Akan Kohan Eco-Museum Centre

0.59 MILES

At the eastern edge of town, this centre has exhibitions on local flora and fauna, including marimo in aquarium tanks. It also has hiking maps in English…

3. Museum of Ainu Folklore

15.45 MILES

In the Kussharo kotan (village) on the southern shores of Kussharo-ko, this museum displays traditional Ainu tools and crafts. Ask the staff to play the…

4. Bihoro Pass

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This lookout point on Rte 243, which runs between Abashiri and Mashū, has a fantastic panoramic view over Kussharo-ko, with Naka-jima in the middle.

5. Kussharo-ko

20.21 MILES

Japan's largest caldera lake is a rich blue on sunny days. A small volcano peeks out from the centre, creating the island Naka-jima – best viewed from the…

7. Iō-zan

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This hissing mountain (512m), a couple of kilometres south of Kawayu Onsen, is stained sunshine-yellow in patches from sulphur. Locals steam eggs in the…

8. Kawayu Eco-Museum Centre

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Stop by this museum and visitor centre in Kawayu Onsen to see how the surrounding volcanic landscape got its shape and to pick up hiking maps. There's a…