An active volcano in Kawayu Onsen
Located just two kilometers from the onsen town of Kawayu, Mt. Io is an active volcano that offers a unique and awe-inspiring experience for visitors. As you approach the volcano, you’ll immediately be greeted by the strong smell of sulfur in the air, a clear indication of the geothermal activity taking place.
Standing at a height of 512 meters, Mt. Io is situated inside the giant Kussharo caldera, which adds to its dramatic appearance. The Ainu name for the volcano is Atosa-nupuri, which translates to “naked mountain.” This name perfectly captures the raw and exposed nature of the volcano, as well as the spiritual significance it holds for the Ainu people.
To reach Mt. Io, visitors can either drive or walk from the town of Kawayu Onsen, covering a distance of 2 kilometers, or from Kawayu train station, which is 1.6 kilometers away. Additionally, there are several bus services available that run routes from nearby towns and cities, providing convenient access to the volcano.
Once you arrive at the visitor center and parking lot, you can take your time to explore the area and immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere. Start by sampling the hot-spring cooked eggs at the visitor center, which are a popular delicacy in the region. These eggs are boiled in the natural hot springs, resulting in a distinct flavor and texture that is truly a treat for the taste buds.
After enjoying the eggs, it’s time to experience the sulfurous waters of Kawayu Onsen. The town is famous for its hot springs, which are known for their therapeutic properties and healing effects. The sulfurous steam vents from Mt. Io contribute to the mineral-rich waters of the onsen, creating a truly rejuvenating experience for visitors.
You can choose to soak in one of the many public baths or even book a private onsen for a more intimate experience. The soothing warmth of the water combined with the surrounding natural beauty creates a serene and tranquil atmosphere that is perfect for relaxation and reflection.
For those who prefer to explore the natural surroundings, there is a peaceful forest stroll that starts behind the Mt. Io visitor center. This scenic trail will lead you to the beautiful Kawayu Onsen Station, where you can enjoy a delicious lunch while taking in the picturesque views of the surrounding landscapes.
The forest stroll is a great opportunity to connect with nature and appreciate the diverse flora and fauna that thrive in this volcanic region. Keep an eye out for unique plant species and listen to the sounds of birds chirping overhead. The trail is well-maintained and suitable for all fitness levels, making it an accessible activity for everyone.
As you continue your journey through the forest, you’ll come across several viewpoints that offer breathtaking vistas of the Kussharo caldera and the volcanic landscape. These viewpoints provide an excellent opportunity to capture stunning photographs and truly appreciate the raw beauty of the area.
In addition to its natural wonders, Mt. Io also holds cultural and historical significance. The Ainu people, who are the indigenous inhabitants of Hokkaido, consider the volcano to be a sacred place. They believe that the volcanic activity is a manifestation of their ancestors’ spirits and that it holds great spiritual power.
Visitors to Mt. Io can learn more about the Ainu culture and history through various exhibitions and displays at the visitor center. These educational resources offer insights into the unique traditions, beliefs, and way of life of the Ainu people, allowing visitors to gain a deeper appreciation for the cultural heritage of the region.
It’s important to note that the information provided may be subject to change due to COVID-19. Therefore, it’s advisable to check for any updates or restrictions before planning your visit to Mt. Io and Kawayu Onsen.
In conclusion, a visit to Mt. Io in Kawayu Onsen offers a remarkable experience that combines natural beauty, geothermal activity, and cultural heritage. Whether you choose to soak in the sulfurous waters, explore the surrounding forests, or learn about the Ainu culture, you’re sure to be captivated by the unique charm of this active volcano. Plan your trip today and embark on an unforgettable adventure in Kawayu Onsen.
Address And Maps Location:
Kawakami District, Teshikaga, Hokkaido