Lake Kusharo is a massive caldera lake. As such, it has a number of natural hot springs bubbling up around its shores.
The hotspring above is one such example. This is an open-air mixed hot spring. The interesting thing about these baths is that while public nudity anywhere else would be utterly and completely intolerable, it seems not even slightly the case for open-air hotsprings. Just a few minutes after I took this photo, two men arrived and presently stripped naked and hopped in. Not even 2 meters away, were a couple of 13 or 14 year old girls paddling about on the lake shore catching tadpoles. That seemed strange to me.
The strangeness continued as we wandered along the lakefront. A man in a wetsuit was walking towards us with a lumping great big parrot clinging to his hand.
To leave him at home would be unthinkable, said the owner and his wife. That’s why they take him on holiday with them. Their kids were splashing about on a canoe a few meters away.
The pleasant surprise for today was that of meeting up with friends from Sapporo who were in the area. Leon, Ric and Matt were on a two-week hiking trip around Hokkaido, doing some of the bigger multiple day treks in the mountains near Shiretoko. Even more surprising was that Ric’s mother-in-law (Ric is English, his wife is Japanese) lives in Kotan. The invitation to stay with them at okaasan’s (literally mother’s) place was quickly accepted. Due to this chance meeting, we ended up hanging around Kotan all day.
In classic Leon style, BBQ was the choice of evening meal.
Distance: 10km | Time on bikes: | Average speed: | Bears: 0
Financials: Food: 2,350yen | Accommodation: 0yen