Day 4: Lake Mashu Side Trip

A day featuring rain, a geothermal lake, and sulfur pits.


START Lake Kussharo
END Lake Kussharo


08:00 AM wake up, hang out around the campsite
12:00 PM start riding
04:00 PM check into hostel


Today’s original plan was to ride 58 miles to Bihoro. However, because of the rain, we made it a short day and just rode to Lake Mashu. 

There is a restaurant by the Sunayu campground which we ate a late breakfast at. We had dinner at the hostel in the evening.

We booked a night at the Kussharo Genya Youth Guesthouse which was 5 miles away from the Sunayu Campground.

Travel Log

What the hell. It is POURING.
The rain woke me up at 5am and I had trouble falling back asleep. We stayed in our tents checking the weather forecast and listening to the pitter patter of the rain to see if it was easing up. At 9am, the forecast was not optimistic so we decided to just book a hostel nearby for the night and stay dry. We packed up our belongings and found that the restaurant by the campground was open so we had some brunch.

fountain in the restaurant, the warm water heats up the tea bottles! AMAZING!
Me and Kushi
A cafe across from the restaurant. Not open when we were there, maybe it was off-season.

The rain was sort of dying down so we explored the campground a little bit. 

Sunayu Campground is located right on the lake. Because of our late arrival last night, we didn’t even notice that the lake was geothermal! The water is HOT and if you dig up the sand on the shore, you can build yourself your own mini-onsen!

I had to take off my shoes and my dip my feet in because I found this fascinating.

At around noon we were still taking our time enjoying the campground when the rain started to stop. Since we already booked the night at the hostel, we decided we could go for a portion of our originally planned ride and just check out Lake Mashu.

On the way there, we passed some sulfur pits that colored the rock a really bright yellow.

Lake Mashu is at a higher elevation so we had to climb about 1700ft to see it. Even though it was a cloudy day, the lake was still gorgeous. It reminded me of a smaller version of Crater Lake in Oregon.

It was a pretty cold ride back down though. We checked into the Kussharo Genya Youth Guesthouse around 4pm to dry ourselves up and get warm. The guesthouse was nice enough to let us keep our bikes in their garage and let us hang dry our soaking tent.

cool interior of the guesthouse

The guesthouse seemed very much like a hostel in the US except it was spotless. They also had someone working the kitchen so I ordered ramen for dinner and of course, enjoyed the small onsen before bed.

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