Akan Tourism Association hold monitor tour with the aim of introducing a program in which Ainu culture is experienced by means of camping

Monitor tour participants look round a kucha made from pine trees

‘Hunting time: Kucha’ a monitor tour in which participants could experience Ainu-style camping was held from October 8 to 10 at Akanko Onsen, Akan-cho in the city of Kushiro in eastern Hokkaido. Participants stayed in ‘kucha’ (small, temporary huts) made from pine trees, and came into contact with part of the Ainu culture. The Akan Tourism Association & Community Development Organization, which sponsored the event, is aiming to introduce the program as a new sightseeing tour from 2022.

With a view to the COVID-19 pandemic being brought under control, the Community Development Organization plans to create a new accommodation-type tour that fuses Ainu culture and nature. Videos recorded by monitor guests taking part in the 2-night, 3-day tour are scheduled to be used as part of the promotional materials when negotiating with travel agents.

Four members of the Ohara family from Nagoya participated in the tour from October 8 to 10. A ‘kucha’ is a temporary hut that was used for sleeping when the Ainu went hunting in the mountains and rivers. With the cooperation of The Akan Ainu Industrial Arts Association, pine leaves and branches were collected at the Akan Lakeside Campsite to create a cone-shaped kucha with a diameter of 4 meters and a height of 3 meters.

The father, a company employee said, “This is my first experience of Ainu culture. The children will learn a lot from it.” The 10-year-old eldest son was curious. “I like playing in nature; it’s interesting,” he said enthusiastically.

On the first day of the tour, participants stayed in the kucha after sampling wild game such as venison, and listening to lectures by Ainu guides. On the second day, they boarded an Ainu dugout canoe and enjoyed fishing on Lake Akan before staying the night in a lakeside hotel.


Akanko Onsen