Kussharo Kotan Ainu Folk Museum(屈斜路コタンアイヌ民族資料館)

  • Kussharo Kotan Ainu Folk Museum

Teshikaga Town Kussharo Kotan Ainu Folk Museum

This small museum on the southern shore of Lake Kussharo is dedicated to Ainu,the indigenous people of northern Japan. It houses an extensive collection of artifacts and exhibits on Ainu culture, heritage, and the history of the land on which they lived.

The Kussharo Kotan Ainu Museum stands on the former site of an Ainu village, known as a kotan. Exhibits detail the traditional Ainu way of life of hunting, gathering, fishing, and living in a natural environment. The museum covers a range of themes, from the area’s natural and human history to Ainu tools, clothing, food, and religion. Some exhibits have English descriptions.

Visitors can watch a 25-minute video in English about Ainu history, describing the discrimination that Ainu people suffered during the Meiji era (1868–1912), the subsequent laws enacted to protect Ainu culture, and present-day efforts to pass on Ainu traditions. The video features Ainu community groups keeping the culture alive through song, dance, festivals, and language education.

A Museum that Embodies Ainu Culture

The history, spirituality, and legends of Ainu culture are embodied in the design and architecture of the Kussharo Kotan Ainu Folk Museum.

Twenty-three wooden pillars inside the building represent the nusasan (altar), a sacred place of worship erected outside of Ainu homes. The pillars also symbolize the forest and mountains surrounding the village. An audio recording of yukar, music-accompanied epic Ainu poetry,streams from speakers inside the pillars. Visitors can ask to watch a 10-minute slideshow,projected on the museum wall, about iomante, a ceremony that returns a bear’s spirit to the divine realm of the kamui.

Outside the museum,in the open-air space next to Lake Kussharo, visitors will find a nusasan and an eperset—a cage that Ainu used to raise small bears.



  1. The Wakoto Peninsula(和琴半島)

  2. Teshikaga Freetrekkers!(てしかがfreetrekkers!)

  3. JR Mashu Train Station Tourist Information Center(JR摩周駅観光案内所)

  4. Mashu Tamu Kiln(川湯陶房 摩周多夢窯)

  5. Koshinso / Wakoto Rest House(Japanese-Inn)(湖心荘 / 和琴レストハウス)

  6. River and Field(リバー&フィールド)

Teshikaga Live Camera