Kushiro-The icebreaking sightseeing boat Mashu Maru, a 188-ton vessel, on Monday began breaking through the ice surface to create a sea lane along Lake Akan located in Kushiro, Hokkaido Prefecture. Boat operators are expecting to resume regular operations in May as they commence work during the arrival of a late spring in the northernmost island of Japan.
According to the sightseeing cruise company Akan Kanko Kisen, based in Kushiro, the midwinter ice that freezes over the entire lake was thinner than usual this year, Sankei Shimbun reported. As of Monday, the ice thickness measured between 15 and 40 centimeters.
For a duration of one week starting April 21, tourists can board the Mashu Maru and experience an ice breaking cruise first hand. From May 1 until the end of November, the sightseeing boat will also cruise around Churui Island— famous for rare marimo green algae balls which can be seen at the Marimo Exhibition and Observation Center.