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JAPAN

Japan is situated in northeastern Asia between the North Pacific and the Sea of Japan. The area of Japan is 377,873 square kilometers, nearly equivalent to Germany and Switzerland combined or slightly smaller than California. Japan consists of four major islands, surrounded by more than 4,000 smaller islands.

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JNTO TRAVEL PLANNER

Use the "JNTO TRAVEL PLANNER" for train and map information helpful in traveling around Japan.

  • By simply entering the departing and arrival station, get an overview of train transfer method, fares, and travel time.
  • By simply selecting the arrival airport and major train stations around Japan, find routes to stations nearest your destination.
  • Display a map of the arrival train station and areas surrounding sightseeing spots.

Read the "Usage Guide" and use this service for a safe and enjoyable trip in Japan.

Usage Guide

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  1. Home
  2. Attractions
  3. Festivals & Events
  4. Traditional Annual Events

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Attractions

Marimo Matsuri(Spherical Algae Festival)

Come and learn about spherical algae, mysterious creatures living in the sea, and get better acquainted with Ainu traditions.

Dates: For three days in early October
Place: Akanko Onsen
City: Akan-cho, Kushiro City, Hokkaido Prefecture

This is an event which began with activities to conserve the endangered marimo algae of Lake Akanko. Marimo algae grow in fresh water and gather in large numbers to form green spherical bodies. It takes more than 100 years for natural marimo algae to grow to a diameter of 10cm, but the marimo algae in Lake Akanko are the largest in the world, growing to a diameter of 30cm. They are designated as Special Natural Monuments.
This unique festival featuring marimo has developed into a major event of Hokkaido and is even referred to in the following way: "The Sapporo Snow Festival is the champion of festivals in Western Hokkaido and the Marimo Festival is the champion of festivals in Eastern Hokkaido." Both festivals were held for the first time in 1950.

Lake Akanko and marimo are closely associated with the indigenous Ainu people, who live mainly in Hokkaido, as is this festival.

On the first day of the festival, a lecture on the growth of marimo and field trips to their habitat are held. The second day features the Marimo Dance Parade, the Marimo portable shrine and the Ceremony for Receiving Marimo, along with the Ceremony to Conserve Marimo in accordance with ancient Ainu traditions. Upon receiving marimo, gratitude is offered to the gods of Mother Nature for the past year's blessings. The festival closes with the solemn Ceremony of Returning Marimo to the Lake, when marimo are carried on a canoe accompanied by an elderly Ainu chief and returned to the depths of the lake bed.

At night, you can watch the Pine Torch Procession and the fireworks display.

During the festival you can also enjoy all kinds of attractions on the grounds by the lakeshore, such as game competitions and the bazaar.

Directions

Close to Akankohan bus stop.Akankohan bus stop is about 2 hours from JR Kushiro Station on the Akankohan bound bus.JR Kushiro Station is about 3 hours and 40 minutes from JR Sapporo Station.

 

Festivals & Events

Traditional Annual Events

Traditional Annual Events