By JR Train & Bus -- Because there's no train station at Akanko Onsen itself, transportation to the resort town is by train to Kushiro or Kitami and then by bus to Akanko. Kushiro is about 4 hours from Sapporo by JR train (¥8,610 for an unreserved seat); Kitami is 4 1/2 hours away (¥8,290 for an unreserved seat). From JR Kushiro Station, buses depart two to five times a day for Akanko; the 2-hour trip costs ¥2,650 one-way. From Kitami, buses depart twice a day (at last check at 9:30am and 3pm), and the 70-minute trip costs ¥1,800. You must make a reservation for this bus by calling tel. 0157/23-2181 in Kitami or tel. 0154/67-2205 in Akanko.
Two Sunrise buses a day depart Sounkyo Onsen for Akanko Onsen (at last check at 9:27am and 4:57pm), with the one-way fare costing ¥3,260 for the 3 1/2-hour trip. Reservations are required; call tel. 01658/5-3321 in Sounkyo, or 0154/67-2205 in Akan, or drop by the bus terminal in either town. All bus fares are half-price for children.
By Plane -- Because Akan National Park lies at the eastern extremity of Hokkaido, you may wish to fly at least one-way between here and Tokyo. The closest airport to Akanko Onsen is Kushiro Airport (KUH), with the flight from Tokyo taking about 1 1/2 hours and costing ¥39,000 for a regular one-way fare, though tickets purchased 28 days in advance can run as low as ¥13,900 on selected flights. From Kushiro Airport, buses travel to Akanko in about 1 hour and 20 minutes for ¥2,090.
Akanko Onsen's Tourist Association (tel. 0154/67-2254; daily 9am-6pm) is located just a 2-minute walk from the Akanko Onsen bus terminal, in the direction of the lake and on the main street through town. (Turn left out of the bus terminal and take the first right and then the next left; it will soon be on your left next to the post office and across from the New Akan Hotel Shangri-La.) Occasionally there's an English-speaker here, and in any case you can pick up an English-language pamphlet about Akan National Park with a map of the town and two foldouts on hiking. The staff will also make reservations for hotels and ryokan. More information is available at www.lake-akan.com.
For information on the park and its natural wonders, drop by the Akankohan Eco Museum Center (tel. 0154/67-2785; Wed-Mon 9am-5pm), located beside the lake about a 7-minute walk from the bus terminal. Displays, in Japanese only, show off native flora and fauna, including the Hokkaido brown bear and sika deer (both stuffed), marimo (duckweed), and live freshwater fish such as white-spotted char and kokanee salmon. Admission is free.
Akanko Onsen is small, and walking is the best way to get around. It consists primarily of one main street that snakes along the lake, with ryokan and souvenir shops lining both sides.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.