Snowmobile Experience at Lake Akan in Hokkaido

In Hokkaido, spontaneity and fun is expected if you’re into a thrilling winter adventure whether you’re traveling solo or in a group.

Ice Landakan in Hokkaido Japan
Ice Landakan in Hokkaido Japan

In this article, I’ll share with you what we have experienced on our recent trip at the Lake Akan alongside with other travel writers, bloggers, and influencers last February.


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After our half day cultural immersion in Lake Akan Ainu Kotan, we walked towards the frozen lake for yet another exciting activity that requires our adventurous side to transpire – a snowmobiling adventure in the frozen Lake Akan.

During summer, the lake offers boating tours to enjoy the life-altering views of the lake but come winter, the lake is transformed into a snowmobiling area and facility.

Exciting Water Activities at Lake Akan

For those unfamiliar, Lake Akan is found at the Akan National Park in Hokkaido, Japan. During the winter season, this lake would freeze. From its natural clear blue watered lake, it would transform into a white winter wonderland which gives more options for interesting activities that can be done on the lake. I was pretty impressed with the vast lake that entices more visitor to come to either just see it or do fishing and snowmobiling activity.

Melo in Lake Akan, Hokkaido
Melo in Lake Akan, Hokkaido

The lake is so vast that exploring it would be an exciting adventure. The activities done here ranges from ice fishing, banana boating on ice and snowmobiling.

Believe it or not, Hokkaido will offer you a lot of firsts once you get to try many unique and different activities, especially during winter. A lot of which are not typically done in other cities in Japan which is why when visiting Hokkaido, it is only right to experience these.

Other than sight-seeing and fishing, an activity that any visitor of Hokkaido would truly enjoy is going snowmobile riding. Snowmobile riding is really fun that anyone of any age can enjoy this activity at Lake Akan.

Frozen Lake Akan
Frozen Lake Akan

As mentioned earlier, despite there being a handful of choices of activities, most people would really want to try out and experience going on a snowmobile. What makes this such a fun activity is because whether you’re a licensed driver or not, everyone can do this activity as long as you know how to follow instructions.

The guides here are so hands on so for those who plan to bring their kids, they will assist them and keep them safe. And for adults, you can enjoy the adrenaline rush that riding the snowmobile brings.

The Snowmobiling Experience

Just when I thought that winter gloves, winter boots, and warmers are enough to make the snowmobiling ride possible, we went to a tent to get a helmet as it is one of the basic requirements to assure safety. But that was just the beginning.

Snowmobile Experience at Lake Akan
Snowmobile Experience at Lake Akan

Before we get to feel the thrill of riding the snowmobile, we were given basic instructions on how to drive and some precautions. Well, surprisingly, it’s easy as driving an ATV.

As I drive the snowmobile, I immediately felt the strong biting cold wind right on my face. However, we braved the cold temperature and the whole ride gave me a new experience and a whole lot of firsts. The snowmobile ride lasted for 30 minutes but I can only do 15, as I cannot bear the cold anymore — but it was a fun experience though. Most importantly, I get to channel my inner Paul Walker with the adrenaline pumping ride. HAHA.

Driving a snowmobile around frozen Lake Akan
Driving a snowmobile around frozen Lake Akan

But of course, we felt safe during the whole activity, and that’s what mattered most at the end of the day. Thanks to the staff who monitored the area from the beginning until the time we finished.

Snowmobile Tour Package in Hokkaido Japan
Snowmobile Tour Package in Hokkaido Japan

If you plan to try this activity, explore the whole lake and discover it as you ride your snowmobile. If you and your friends care to do something a little extreme, try to set a certain distance and then have a friendly competition.

The lake completely freezes that it makes it very safe to withstand daily and long hours of different human activity so you don’t have to worry about the road and trails.

Snowmobile Experience in Hokkaido
Snowmobile Experience in Hokkaido

You also don’t need to worry about getting a license for driving a snowmobile. All you have to do is listen to the instructions given to you by your guide on how to handle, manipulate, and drive it. The guides will give you a thorough instruction so you can drive around safely.

Preparing for Snowmobiling

But in order to fully appreciate and really enjoy the snowmobiling experience, you need to prepare yourself for the extremely cold weather. There are some tourists from time to time who underestimate the cold weather and end up coming unprepared for the weather, thus not fully enjoying the activity they want to do because they are too focused with keeping themselves warm.

So, to be able to withstand the cold temperature, you just have to bring the basic winter necessities and tips, of course, to trick your body into feeling warmer. First of all, your body requires energy to fight off the heat, so eat enough healthy fatty foods. You should also avoid drinking alcohol before going outside, because contrary to popular belief, alcohol may bring your skin some warm effects, but the reality is, alcohol draws heat away from your vital organs.

Snowboarding in Hokkaido photo by Jayvee Fernandez
Snowboarding in Hokkaido photo by Jayvee Fernandez

Second, come mentally prepared to experience cold weather. Lastly, of course, be physically prepared. Bring the necessary items to fight off the cold. Do proper layering, wear a thick jacket and boots. Use long sleeves underneath that jacket. Bring gloves and a hat or a bonnet.

Team Philippines in Hokkaido
Team Philippines in Hokkaido

How to get there

The Lake Akan It is 120 minutes by bus from Kushiro Station and is ten minutes by foot from Lake Akan bus center. If you’re taking the bus from Kushiro Airport, then it will take you about 70 minutes, and ten minutes on foot from Lake Akan bus center.

Check out our complete list of recommended Lake Akan Hotels in Hokkaido, Japan via Agoda or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.

Our Hokkaido Japan trip was made possible by Japan Airlines, JNTO (Japan National Tourism Organization) and Havas Media. Japan Airlines offers daily flights to Tokyo Haneda and Narita. From Tokyo, JAL also offers domestic flights to Sapporo, Hakodate, Obihiro, Ozora, Asahikawa, and Kushiro.

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