Lake Kutcharo - Hokkaido

Lake Kutcharo (クッチャロ湖) is a favorite destination for bird watchers since it is a resting spot for migratory species such as the tundra swan and the white-tailed eagle. It is located in the town of Hamatonbetsu in Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan.

Lake Kutcharo

Lake Kutcharo details

Lake Kutcharo's name is based on the Ainu kut-char (クㇳチャㇻ), meaning "marsh water outlet". Lake Kutcharo is one of the scenic lakes of Hokkaido Prefecture. It has a total surface area of 13.40 square kilometers and a shore length of about 27 kilometers. However, the deepest part of the lake is just 8.2 feet deep

Lake Kutcharo (クッチャロ湖

Pictures around Lake Kutcharo 

Lake Kutcharo Map

The lake is technically the collective name for two lakes that are linked together. Konuma (小沼) is the northern lake, and Onuma (大沼) is the southern lake. Six rivers flow into Konuma, which drains into Onuma through a narrow canal on the island's northern tip.

Thousands of tundra swans visit Lake Kutcharo every year

As mentioned earlier, Lake Kutcharo is an important resting spot for tundra swans during their migration. According to the statistics provided by the Ministry of Environment, about 6,000-10,000 tundra swans come each year. Aside from that, the lake is also visited by more than 290 bird species, mostly ducks, every year.

The Chaiko. This is where you pay your camping fees

Lake Kutcharo Camping Grounds

If you've played Pokemon Pearl, Diamond, or Platinum, you're undoubtedly familiar with this lake because Lake Acuity is based on it. Just so you know, Sinnoh, the fictional region in the game, is based on Hokkaido.

Team Nicerio visits Lake Kutcharo

My family and I visited Lake Kutcharo for the first time last August 15, 2022, during our 5-day "Drive Up North" road trip which was my 42nd week here in Japan as an ALT under the JET Programme. Not only did we enjoy the view, we camped at Kutcharo Lakeside Campground located on the lake’s southeastern side. It was an amazing experience and surely, we would love to visit and camp there again in the future.

Lake Kutcharo Admission Fee

It’s FREE to visit Lake Kutcharo. However, if you plan to camp at Kutcharo Lakeside Campground you need to pay 400 yen per person.

Why visit Lake Kutcharo?

Lake Kutcharo is a place to visit if you are an avid bird watcher. The best time to visit is around October when the Tundra Swans migrate south. If you love camping then visit around June to September.

Getting to Lake Kutcharo

Take the Soya Bus from Otoineppu Station on the JR Soya Main Line to Hamatonbetsu Bus Terminal, then walk for about 15 minutes going to Lake Kutcharo.




Overall rating


  1. That's a beautiful lake. I can't wait to drive there this summer.

  2. That's a beautiful lake. I wonder if you could go swimming there.

    1. I agree with you, this lake is probably one of the most beautiful in Hokkaido. It is shallow and muddy. I don't think you'd enjoy swimming there.


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