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Kushiro Marsh

Kushiro marsh mapKushiro marsh Kushiro Marsh ("Kushiro shitsugen" in Japanese) is a broad one expanding to the north of Kushiro city.

It is the largest marsh in Japan, and has an area of about 194 thousand hectares.
The Kushiro River snakes through the marsh.
On the east side of the river, there are main three lakes.
They are Takkobu, Touro and Shirarutoro.

Whole of this marsh has been designated national park, and was inscribed as a registered wetlands under the Ramsar Convention in 1980.

After ice age, this area sank in the sea about 6,000 years ago, then it formed a bay.
After the sea level decreased, this area became a swampland, then it changed a current marsh about 3,000 years ago.

In the marsh, there are about 600 kinds of plants and flowers, 26 kinds of mammals, 4 kinds of amphibians, 5 kinds of reptiles, about 170 kinds of birds, 35 kinds of fish and over 1,150 different kinds of insects.
Many rare species of plants and animals inhabit the marsh and some of these are endangered species.
Especially tanchozuru (red-crowned crane) is well-known to Japanese tourists.

Visitors must view the marsh at only some observatries. Most observatories have also a few courses of walking trail.

The observatories along Kushiro River

JR Senmou Line runs along Kushiro River. This is the only public transportation for these observatories.
Around Lake Touro, we can use a car.

  • Hosooka Observatory /1/ : It is located 13 km north-northeast of Kushiro city, and this is the main observatory on the east side.
    It is just near Kushiro-shitsugen station on Senmou Line.
    You can view the marsh, Kushiro River, and Mount O-Akan and Me-Akan in the distance.
    The view of sunset is also good.
  • Sarubo and Sarurun Observatories /2/ : These two observatories are located 22 km north-northeast of Kushiro city. The distance between both observatories is about 1 km.
    The wooden walking trails are made.
    You can view the marsh and some lakes.
    From Touro station on Senmou Line, we must walk about 2 km.
    When we use a car, there is a parking lot near the observatories.
  • Kottaro Observatory /3/ : It is located 6 km northwest of Touro Station.
    Around here, rare species of plants and insects make their habitat.
    To visit here, you must use a car or walk.

The observatories on the west side of marsh

These observatories are located northwest of Kushiro city.
You cannot see the Kushiro River, but each observatory provides some walking trails.

  • Kushiro City Observatory /4/ : It is located 10 km northwest of Kushiro city, and this is the main observatory on the west side.
    The main observatory is near a national road, and it is in a building with museum.
    From the observatory, a circling walking trail about 2.5 km long is set up.
    There is a satellite observatory named "Hokuto Observatory" on the way, and you can see the marsh in sight. Additionally the walking trail to On'nenai Visitor Center is set up on the way.
  • On'nenai Visitor Center /5/ : It is located 4 km north of Kushiro city observatory.
    There is a visitor center, and we can get the information about Kushiro Marsh here.
    And walking trails about 3 km long start from here.
    By route bus, it takes about 5 minutes from Kushiro city observatory.
Scenic or Nature / Park or Garden / Resort / City, Town or Village / Quarter or Street /
Temple or Shrine / Museum or Laboratory / Market or Commercial facility / Factory /
Other Building or Construction / Historic place / Remains / World Heritage Site

How to get to here

By railroad

By local train of JR Senmou line, from Kushiro station about 20 minutes to Kushiro-shitsugen station (near Hosooka Observatory), about 35 minutes to Touro station (near Sarubo, Sarurun and Kottaro Observatories).

By route bus

From Kushiro station, about 40 minutes to Kushuro city observatory, about 45 minutes to On'nenai Visitor Center.

Kushiro Marsh
Photo by easthokkaido.com
Hosooka Observatory
Photo by easthokkaido.com
A view from Hosooka Observatory
Photo by DO PHOTO
A view from Sarubo Observatory A view from Sarurun Observatory
Lake Touro
Photo by DO PHOTO
Kottaro Observatory
Photo by DO PHOTO
Kushiro City Observatory
Photo by easthokkaido.com
Hokuto Observatory
Photo by DO PHOTO
Walking trail around On'nenai Visitor Center
Photo by easthokkaido.com
Red-crowned cranes in the marsh
©Y.Shimizu / ©JNTO

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