Volcanoes rise from primeval forests and lakeside beaches bubble with hot springs in this national park, unfairly overshadowed by neighboring Taisetsu and Shiretoko. In Akan's northern forests, strange, cylindrical algae called marimo bob to the surface of the namesake lake. Elsewhere Ainu men pluck and blow eerie music from traditional instruments, while women dancers duck and weave in honor of the red-crested tancho white cranes that fly in every winter,
breeding on the wetland on the park's southern border. In summer, it's a hiker's heaven of trails and hot springs; in winter, the lakes freeze over and ice festivals spill out onto the frozen expanses.