National Parks of Japan Protecting our natural heritage for future generations

Akan, Mashu, KussharoAkan-Mashu National Park


Kushiro River Canoe Tour Course

Kushiro River Canoe Tour Courseの写真
Time Required:
1 h 30 min.
8 km
Hop in a canoe and paddle down the headwaters of the Kushiro River flowing from Lake Kussharo.

Course Outline

On this course, you will get in a canoe and paddle down the headwaters of the Kushiro River, the only river that flows from the pristine Lake Kussharo. The brilliant green of the new leaves in spring, the glittering days of summer, and the rainbow of colors in fall—as soon as the canoe floats away from shore, the tranquility of the water will awaken your senses and you will see a side of nature that you had never noticed before.

Experienced local guides operate the canoe tours, so even beginners can easily participate. The start of the Kushiro River headwaters course is the Choko ("Lake View") Bridge where you will board the canoe, pass under small bridges, and become one with nature and the flow of the river.


The wildlife along the Kushiro River
The wildlife along the Kushiro River

A red-crowned crane on the riverbank

In winter, swans congregate at the lakeside near the starting point. If you follow the headwaters as far as Kushiro Marsh, you may see a red-crowned crane on the bank looking for food, Yezo deer, white-tailed eagles, or other animals. Encounters with such rare wildlife are an experience you will surely not soon forget.

A crystal-clear spring
A crystal-clear spring


At Kagaminoma, the water’s surface is as still and clear as a mirror (kagami means "mirror" in Japanese), enabling you to see the spring water welling up from the river bottom. You will also find aquatic plants, such as watercress and Ranunculus nipponicus, growing from the riverbed and painting a scene where the forest seems to meld into the water.

The only rapids on the course
The only rapids on the course

Biruwa Shallows

The only tough spot on this course is located just before Biruwa Bridge. Tranquil up to this point, the water’s surface gives way to rippling waves. When passing over the shallows, which are composed of two steps, the water splashes up making the paddlers cry out in surprise. Once past the shallows, you are nearly to the course terminus, Biruwa Bridge.

Course Map

Kushiro River Canoe Tour Course

Course Time

Starting Point
Choko Bridge
10 min.
1 km
20 min.
2 km
Midori Bridge
55 min.
4.5 km
Biruwa Shallows (along the river)
5 min.
0.5 km
Biruwa Bridge
*Course time and distance are estimates.