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Akanko (Lake Akan)
Akanko (Lake Akan) Review
Chugging tour boats with noisy Japanese commentaries and even speedboats disturb the waters below smoking volcanoes Me-Akan and O-Akan (Mr. and Mrs. Akan). But out on Churui Island, silence is green among Akanko's strangest inhabitants, marimo, as they nestle peacefully in display tanks. Marimo are spherical colonies of green algae that may be as small as a Ping-Pong ball or as large as a soccer ball (the latter taking up to 500 years to form). Rare life forms, marimo can only be found in Lake Yamanaka, near Fuji-san, and in a few lakes in North America, Siberia, and Switzerland. These strange algae act much like submarines, bobbing to the lake surface when bright sunshine increases their photosynthesis, then diving below during inclement weather when light levels drop.
Between May and October you can enjoy the lake from a canoe with the help of the Akan Nature Center, which offers two- or eight-person Canadian canoes for a 45-minute beginner course (¥2,100), a 90-minute adventure course (¥5,300), or for the strong-of-arm the 2½-hour Yaitai Island course (¥8,400). Reserve one day in advance by calling, or emailing in simple English. The center is in Akan Kohan, near the Ainu village and next to Spa Inn Yamaguchi on the north end of the town street.
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