Located in the Eastern Portion of Japan’s Akan National Park, on the island nation’s northernmost main island of Hokkaido, Lake Mashu is an unfathomably beautiful and mysterious caldera lake formed by an ancient volcanic explosion. Many Japanese consider Mashu to be the country’s most impressive lake. The lake is notable for its extreme clarity and is regarded as one of the world’s most clear lakes. Visitors often miss out on viewing the clear blue waters as the lake is famous for often being shrouded in thick clouds of mist or fog. Because of the heavy, thick coating of fog that often blankets the lake and steep crater walls, which plunge over 650 feet down sharply towards the water, visitors are forbidden from visiting the lake’s shores. The mist, volcanic history, and inaccessibility add to its mysterious inscrutable nature while also preserving its pristine waters.
The lake was formed by a volcanic eruption some 2,000 years ago and is revered as a sacred place for Japan’s indigenous Ainu people. In the Ainu people’s native tounges, the lake is referred to as kamuito, which translates to “lake of the gods.” The Ainu people believe that seeing the lake’s surface will bring about bad luck in the form of delayed or unsuccessful careers for men and child-bearing issues for women.
The nearly 700 feet deep lake has been drawing visitors to its vast encircling wall for at least centuries. For those visiting today, there are two observation towers from which Lake Mashu’s picturesque views can be taken in. A hiking trail offers adventurous visitors the opportunity for enhanced perspective. The trail goes from the first observation deck along the volcanic rim to the summit of Mt. Mashudake. This volcanic peak exists on the Western side of the lake. The trail is about 4.5 miles and is reported to take most hikers approximately 2.5 to 3 hours each way.
Cavanagh, Emily. “Japan’s Mysterious ‘Lake of the Gods’.” BBC Travel, BBC, https://www.bbc.com/travel/article/20191001-japans-mysterious-lake-of-the-gods.
“Lake Mashu (Mashuko).” Akan Mashu National Park Travel, Japan Guide.Com, https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6802.html.
Organization, Japan National Tourism. “Lake Mashu: Travel Japan (Japan National Tourism Organization).” Travel Japan, Japan Tourism Organization, https://www.japan.travel/en/spot/1861/.