The New Akan Hotel sits snugly next to Lake Akan in the Akan National Park. The lake itself is famous for its rare marimo balls of algae that form naturally here; in fact, this type of larvae is only found to form naturally in Japan, Estonia, Iceland and Scotland. The lake was formed some 6,000 years ago by volcanic activity, hence the rich sprinkling of hot spring resorts in the area. The waters of Akan have been popular since ancient times when they were frequented by Hokkaido’s original inhabitants, the Ainu. The hot spring waters of Akan are said to be therapeutic for nerve pain and arthritis. The views in this area are astounding, a delicious blend of crystal lake and sharp, snow-covered mountain ranges – which goes a long way to explain why this area has been designated as a national park. In the photo above Mount Oakan can be seen in the background.
The hotel has two buildings – the Shangri-La and the Crystal. Both contain a grand total of 370 rooms, which can cater to a maximum of 1531 guests at one time. The hotel offers both Japanese and Western-style rooms, as well as special suites and VIP rooms in the Shangri-La building. Japanese-style rooms are floored with crisp tatami mats and have that wonderfully natural woody smell to them that is distinctly unique to the interior of a traditional Japanese home. Western-style rooms have twin beds, and are lit to create the perfect ambience. All rooms are fitted with TVs, fridges, safes, private baths and toilets.
Sunset over the lake from the open-air bath
Mt. Oakan visible from the steamy warmth of the indoor bath
With such a famous hot spring source nearby, the hotel has no shortage of onsen bathing facilities. For those who like to take a bath indoors, the large public baths Unkai (sea of clouds) and Tenmai (heaven dance) both provide brilliant views of the lake through their large glass windows. For those who like to bathe al fresco, head up to the roof to find two open-air baths, with breathtaking views of Lake Akan set against the mountains in the background. If the large buffet meals are making you feel like a bit of exercise, there is also an outdoor pool on the roof. Grab a few lengths before relaxing in a warm bath while taking in the scenery.
Hokkaido is famous for its fresh food, and the New Akan Hotel doesn’t disappoint in this respect. The buffet restaurant Felice can be found on the first floor and serves a variety of dishes, all the while diners can take in a brilliant view of the lake through the huge glass windows. If you’re in the mood for Japanese food, come on down to Kamon, a Japanese restaurant serving fresh local dishes and sake on the first basement floor. If it’s a nightcap you need, slide over to the night lounge Blue Night and enjoy the moody evening atmosphere. Cheers!
The frozen lake in the shade of the trees