Distance: 22km | Gradient: 1.2mpk (6.34 FPM) | ↓ GPX file
The headwaters of the Kushiro River (釧路川) on the edge of the Akan-Mashu National Park live up to their reputation as a gorgeous stretch of untouched river, but also as a place to test paddlers’ skills. Haidee and I were pushed in our paddling, communication, and problem-solving skills; it was ‘only’ about 16km worth of paddling on the river itself, but it took the better part of a whole day, including having to saw through two downed trees blocking the entire river. We were also joined on the river by more crested kingfishers than we’ve ever seen, and treated to some stunningly clear spring-fed tributaries.
We opted to start this 4-day trip down the Kushiro River at the Wakoto Campground, about 4km around the lake’s edge from the head of the river.
Blog post: Kushiro River Day 1 – The Headwaters
Accommodation: Teshikaga Canoe Port (wild camp) (弟子屈カヌーポート（野宿）)
Onsen: Birao-no-Yu Onsen (ビラオの湯) | 400yen | 0.2km from accommodation