Students impressed by marimo awaiting the arrival of spring during observation at commemorative graduation event at Lake Akan

On March 10, five ninth-grade students who were about to graduate from Kushiro City Akanko Compulsory Education School observed ‘Lake Akan marimo,’ balls of algae that are designated special natural monuments of Japan, is they await spring beneath the ice-covered Lake Akan. The students visited Chuurui Bay in the northern part of Lake Akan – to which access for visitors is normally limited – and rediscovered the value of this local ‘treasure.’
The observation event has been held every year since 1997 by the Lake Akan Marimo Conservation Society NPO and the Kushiro City Board of Education’s Marimo Research Office, as part of graduation commemorations.
The students donned snowshoes, walked on the frozen lake and used a glass-bottomed box to observe the marimos through a 2 × 3-meter hole cut in the ice on the surface of the lake. They were amazed to see the spherical marimos packed together on the lake bed at a depth of about 1.6 meters. The students listened intently to an explanation by the Research Office curator while using a net to scoop out and touch a spherical marimo 12 cm in diameter, and observe others up to 24 cm in diameter.
Participant Nakano Koharu (15) said, “I was impressed by the clean water and clear view of the marimo. I would like to convey this precious experience, which can only be had at Lake Akan, to the people around me.”

Ninth-grade students from Akanko Compulsory Education School observe marimo scooped from beneath the ice


Chuurui Island