National Parks of Japan Protecting our natural heritage for future generations

Akan, Mashu, KussharoAkan-Mashu National Park


Mt. Me-akan Mountain Climbing Course

Mt. Me-akan Mountain Climbing Courseの写真
Mountain Climbing
Time Required:
5 h 45 min.
9.9 km
Stunning volcanic scenery with a view of the entire Akan area.

Course Outline

On this popular loop course, you will climb to the summit of Mt. Me-akan from Me-akan Onsen, then descend to Lake Onneto where you can enjoy a fantastic view of the volcanoes, forests, and lake. After passing through a pure Sakhalin spruce forest, continue on through a zone of dwarf stone pines to reach the 5th station of Mt. Me-akan. If you look back toward the way you came, you will see the beautiful azure Lake Onneto and the distant Daisetsu Mountain Range. From the summit, you can see numerous smoking volcanoes to both the north and the south, creating the impression that the Earth is breathing. On your descent, let your eyes take delight in the flower meadow that spreads over the col between Mt. Me-akan and Mt. Akan-Fuji as you head towards the campground at Lake Onneto. To finish off the course, take the woodland trail that runs along the lakeside and through the forest, returning to Me-akan Onsen.


See Lake Akan and Mt. O-akan beyond the crater
See Lake Akan and Mt. O-akan beyond the crater

Mt. Me-akan’s crater

Mt. Me-akan to the southwest of Lake Akan is the main mountain in the Akan mountain group. It is a composite volcano consisting of ten peaks that together form its complex shape. From Mt. Ponmachineshiri, the highest of the ten peaks (elevation 1,499 meters), you can see the Ponmachineshiri Crater to the south and beyond the smoking gases is Mt. Akan-Fuji (elevation 1,476 meters). You can also see a great panoramic view of Lake Akan and Mt. O-akan to the north beyond the crater and rising gases.

Flowering alpine flora on Mt. Me-akan
Flowering alpine flora on Mt. Me-akan

Arenaria merckioides

After the snow melts on Mt. Me-akan around June, you can see a variety of alpine plants. Species that can be found here include two that borrow Mt. Me-akan’s name in Japanese— "meakan kinbai" (Sibbaldia miyabei) and "meakan fusuma" (Arenaria merckioides)—as well as Pennellianthus frutescens, Dicentra peregrina, Campanula lasiocarpa Cham., and the alpine azalea, adding a patchwork of color to the rocky ground. Of all the places these plants grow, the flower meadow that spreads across the col between Mt. Me-akan and Mt. Akan-Fuji is particularly enormous, making it the perfect spot to take a break.

Lake Onneto as seen from the lakeshore
Lake Onneto as seen from the lakeshore

Lake Onneto, also known as "the five-colored marsh"

Lake Onneto is a dammed lake on the west side of Mt. Me-akan, its name meaning "old/big" (Onne) and "lake/marsh" (to) in the Ainu language. Depending on the weather, your location, and time of day, the color of the lake water turns a variety of colors, earning it an additional name, "the five-colored marsh". The blue of the lake contrasts beautifully with the remaining snow, deep green vegetation, and autumn leaves as the seasons change through the year.

Course Map

Mt. Me-akan Mountain Climbing Course

Course Time

Starting Point
Nonaka Onsen
Very near
Trailhead (Me-akan Onsen Course)
150 min.
3.3 km
Summit of Mt. Me-akan
120 min.
4.2 km
Trailhead (Lake Onneto Course)
75 min.
2.4 km
Nonaka Onsen
*Course time and distance are estimates.