Ainu Kotan, one of the largest in Hokkaido, is located on the shores of Lake Akan, a tourist attraction in Hokkaido. It is within walking distance from the hot spring town of Akanko Onsen. It is popular as a spot where you can experience traditional Ainu dance, Ainu people’s lifestyle, wood carving and embroidery.
Lake Akan is located in the northern part of Kushiro city in eastern Hokkaido. “Akan Ainu Kotan” on the shores of Lake Akan, the fifth largest in Hokkaido, is one of the villages of Ainu people, the indigenous people of Hokkaido. Today, it is a tourist spot dotted with facilities where you can experience the culture and history of Ainu.
In addition to Lake Akan, Ainu Kotan is scattered in several places in Hokkaido. Above all, Lake Akan Ainu Kotan is working to disseminate the history and culture of Ainu to European and American tourists as a united government and private sector. In addition, active activities as a tourist spot such as the opening of “Ikor”, the first theater dedicated to Ainu culture tradition in Japan, is being carried out.
In particular, Lake Akan Ainu Kotan is located in the hot spring town of Lake Akan as the largest Ainu Kotan in Hokkaido. At Akanko Ainu Kotan, you can not only learn about the history and culture of Ainu, but also experience the traditional Ainu instrument “Mukkuri Kokin” (harp). In addition, you can hear the history of Ainu from the storyteller and touch the life of Ainu.
In addition, you can purchase souvenirs that you can only get here at souvenir shops such as folk crafts, which span over 20 stores. There are also restaurants and cafes where you can enjoy Ainu cuisine and local Hokkaido cuisine.
The biggest Ainu Kotan in Hokkaido
Akan Ainu Kotan is in Akan hot springs town on the eastern part of Hokkaido, on the shores of Lake Akan, famous for the Marimo. In addition to the Ainu theater, the Ainu living center which reproduces the Ainu house, the folk craft store, the restaurant etc. line up and welcomes travelers warmly. “Ainu Kotan” is a settlement where Ainu people live. Among Ainu Kotan in Hokkaido, it is here Akan Ainu Kotan which has the biggest number of houses in Hokkaido in which those with 36 and about 120 persons live.
The expressions of respect and appreciation for ancestors and gods
The Ainu race honoring nature and coexisting with nature. The Ainu dance born from the life there are various things expressing animals and nature, hunting, play and joy. Representing joy and sadness in the body, such as singing and dancing, was indispensable to the Ainu. “Traditional Ainu dance” which has been handed down since long ago has been designated as an important intangible ethnic cultural asset of the country. In addition, it is a traditional Ainu racial culture registered also as a UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage. The Ainu dance is not only a fun way to enjoy themselves but also expressions of respect and appreciation for ancestors and gods.
A place to interact with local residents and tourists from home and abroad
The Ainu theater “Ikor” is a facility serving as a base for information dissemination as well as inheriting the history and culture of the Ainu. (“Ikor” means “treasure” in Ainu language.) In “Ikor”, “Traditional Ainu dance”, “Puppet show played by Akan Ainu,” “Festival of Iomante” are performed. On the stage of the venue, there is a waterway floating on the Ainu people ‘s unique canoe, and furthermore the flame flare up, you can feel the presence of the festival. “Ikor” is used as a place to interact with local residents and tourists from home and abroad.
Traditional wood carvings and embroidery with its own unique folk goods
If you come to Akan Ainu Kotan, you should drop in for shopping and Ainu cuisine. In the shopping district, there are about 30 shops with folk craft shops and restaurants. Traditional wood carvings and embroidery, each with its own unique folk goods. At the restaurant, you can taste Ainu cuisine.
There are abundant experience plans
Here, viewing “Traditional Ainu dance” and a festival of the Ainu “Festival of Iomante” is a recommended event, but that is not the only event. There is also an experiential plan that you can enjoy tasting the culture of Ainu without difficulty being held at all times. There are abundant experience plans, such as “Ainu Traditional Musical Instrument Mukkuri Production”, “Ainu Embroidery Original Coaster Creation Experience”, and Ainu tradition of wood carving experience. Why do not you try participating when you visit the eastern part of Hokkaido?
Information(Access, Price/Charge, Tel, Address, Official site, etc.)
|Name:||Akan Ainu Kotan|
|Address:||Akanchoakankonsen 4-7-19 Kushiro, Hokkaido 085-0467 Japan|
|Access:||JR Senmo-honsen Line “Kushiro-eki Station” (90 minutes by car)|
|Tel:||(+81) 154-67-2727 (Akan Ainu Industrial Arts Cooperative Association)|
There is also a fee-based facility.
Please refer the official web page.