Lake Kanayama Canoeing


Posted on May 6, 2020

Posted on May 6, 2020

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1 day(s)





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Home to lavender fields, campgrounds, canoe ports, a beach, grassy knolls, and an onsen, Lake Kanayama (かなやま湖) is one of the more picturesque man-made lakes in Hokkaido. It sits just to the west of the quiet town of Minami-furano on the western side of the Hidaka Range. The lake is what justifies Minami-furano town's ubiquitous canoe-themed road signs. If you're looking for a very relaxing weekend camping getaway with a canoe in tow, this lake should be high on your list.

We visited this route on Aug 30, 2019


Route Map

Need to know details

Lake Details

This route is on Lake Kanayama (かなやま湖).The lake is a dam lake, about 0.9km wide and 11km long. It has a shoreline of 30km and a maximum depth of 57m. The lake is at 253m above sea level.


Lake Kanayama sits just west of the Minami-furano town center, about 30km south of Furano City in central Hokkaido. There are a few practical put-in locations on Lake Kanayama. The most picturesque put-in is on the large sandy beach at the campground, here. However, vehicles are not allowed in the campground – it would be a 200m portage from the carpark down to the lake. Also note that campground day-fees apply, at 250yen per person. If you’d rather not use the campground, then there is a large carpark with good access to the lake just east of the campground, here. There’s also a basic gravel area further west along the northern shore from the campground, around here, which would also suffice as a put in. As one last spot – we didn’t actually look at this spot – there’s a large parking area at the northern end of the lake, here, which may also allow access to the lake.

General notes

Lake Kanayama has been bestowed many an accolade, pertaining to its apparent beauty as an artificial lake. The campground lives up to this praise – it’s a gorgeous, well maintained, gently sloping campground with good facilities. The artificial beach at the campground is also nice enough. The ice-fishing on the lake in winter is also said to be excellent. Like most man-made lakes in Hokkaido however, it’s very rarely kept full, so paddling the lake comes hand in hand with towering, scarred shorelines. The somewhat ageing recreational infrastructure around the lake is well-suited to canoeing though, so the lake is most certainly a nice spot to spend a couple of relaxing nights camping at.

Route description

Start from any of the put-in locations listed above, and paddle to your heart’s content. Make note of the weather forecast, however, as wind can really whip up along the length of the lake at times. Access to the southwestern shoreline of the lake is limited – there are no roads down there – so do take care at that end of the lake.

Route Timing
Trip time: 4hrs 0min

Canoeing on Lake Kanayama can take as long or short as you wish. In order to paddle around the shoreline outlined here, around the southern end of the lake, you’d need to allow about 4 hours.


Public transport:

The lake itself is accessible via JR bus to the Higashi-shikagoe JR Train Station (東鹿越駅, location), at the northern end of the lake. Trains no longer run to this station due to typhoon damage to the tracks. Check on Google for the timetable.

By car: 

There is ample parking at all of the put-in locations outlined above, including the campground (here).

Physical maps
Official Topo Map: Ishikari-kanayama (石狩金山) – map no. NK-54-8-10-1
Official Topo Map 2: Ikutora (幾寅) – map no. NK-54-8-6-3

NOTE: The official 1/25000 topo map(s) above can be purchased for 350yen from Kinokuniya bookstore next to Sapporo Station or online (in Japanese).

route safety

As mentioned above, the southwestern shoreline of the lake is inaccessible by road, so escape options at this end of the lake are limited.

Weather forecast weather forecast for Lake Kanayama


Kanayama Kohan Campground (かなやま湖畔キャンプ場)
Situated on the northern shoreline of the picturesque Lake Kanayama in Minami-furano Town, the Lake Kanayama Campground is a well-maintained campground with large, well maintained grassy areas, as well as bungalows. There’s an expansive artificial beach at the campground, perfect for launching canoes. Just across the road is a nice onsen. Location: 43.15861 N / 142.49112 E | 620 yen per person | Open: May-Sep | Staff hours: 8:30am till 6:00pm.
Closest Onsen: Kanayama-ko Hoyou Center (かなやま湖保養センター) | 410yen | 200km from campground
Onsen nearby

The only onsen on the lake is the cheap and cheerful Kanayama Hoyo Center (かなやま湖保養センター, location, 410yen). This basic hot-baths facility has one indoor bath for each gender.

Extra Resources
No extra English resources that we know of. If you know of any, please let us know in the comments.

Guide Options

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Route Trip Notes

Mum and dad were visiting from New Zealand. We were on our way back to Sapporo after a week or so of car tripping around Hokkaido with a canoe strapped to the roof of the car. On the way home, we decided to drop by Lake Kanayama, to sample the canoeing there. Haidee and I had already camped at the campground on a couple of occasions, including a short three day cycle tour from Obihiro to Asahikawa. On that particular trip, mum and dad were with us too, in their own rented campervan.

Today, we chose to pay the campground day-use fee, so that at least we could sit down at one of the picnic tables for some lunch. We’d bought a large water melon on the way, and had some convenience store sandwiches.

We’d toyed with the idea of portaging the canoe down to the beach, but the helpful campground warden insisted it’d be much easier to drive around to the large car park area just east of the campground. Indeed, this ended up being the better choice. 

By now, a strong breeze had picked up across the lake, but the put in area was sheltered. From the Google Maps satellite view, it seems that this car park sometimes becomes partly submerged when the lake level is high. Today, we had to carry the canoe down to the lake.

We set off, telling mum and dad that we’d be back in a few hours. They were happy to sit and relax in the car. 

For the first 15 minutes or so of our paddle, there was very little wind. It soon became apparent, however, that we were in the lee of something. As soon as we started approaching the large steel-girder bridge, we clearly exited the lee, and were catching the wind straight on the beam. The wind was howling down the lake towards the southwest, which was a tailwind for us, so we were not too concerned. We zipped up the spray deck and powered on down the lake.

We really enjoyed the tailwind, but soon gave up on going far down to the southwestern end of the lake. We knew it would be a very slow and arduous paddle back upwind, so we cut across the lake part way down, and started the slog back to the campground. Part way back to the campground, at a put-in location further west from the campground, a bemused fisherman watched us inch our way along the shoreline.

We eventually made it to the beach at the campground. We pulled up and Haidee went to use the campground bathrooms. It felt like the wind was dying down a little, but out in the middle of the lake it was clearly still blowing a stiff wind.

Mum and dad were surprised to see us back so soon. We loaded the canoe back up onto the car, and headed on our way back to Sapporo.

Comments | Queries | Reports

Done this route to Lake Kanayama, or other waterways nearby? Thinking of doing it? Please post any feedback, reports, or queries here. Thanks!

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Lake Kanayama Canoeing Difficulty Rating





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GRADES range from A (very difficult) to D (easy). Hazards include exposure to avalanche and fall risk. More details here. Rating rubric adapted from Hokkaido Yukiyama Guidebook 北海道雪山ガイド.