Blessed by a protective range of mountains and a relatively warm ocean current, Kushiro gets less than a third of the winter snow of its Hokkaido neighbor Sapporo, and twice as much sunshine as the nearby Kuril Islands. Thus it is an important reliably ice-free port during the winter. Like all of Japan, it is riddled with semi-active geothermal features and occasionally rattled by tremors. Scenic Lake Akan is ringed by hot springs. It also has an Ainu Koten museum with a replica village and folklore performances of the indigenous Hokkaido people. The Japanese Crane Reserve is a good place to see breeding populations of these large and graceful birds, so respected by the Japanese. The city encompasses Japan’s largest wetland, and the Kushiro City Marsh Observatory has a boardwalk to see it, as well as the Fureai Horse Park which offers equestrian tours into the forest.