Courtesy of: http://mysteriousuniverse.org/
Lake Kussharo is located within Akan National Park in eastern Hokkaido and derives its name from the Ainu word Kuccharo, which means “The place where a lake becomes a river and the river flows out.” It is a caldera lake, formed in the crater of a volcano long ago, and is notable for being the largest lake of this kind in Japan as well as the 6th largest lake in the country overall.
The lake is known for its natural beauty,as well as a mysterious creature that is said to live in its depths, a monster that has come to affectionately be known as Kusshie, emulating the name of its more well-known Scottish cousin, Nessie.
Kusshie is reported as being between 10 and 20 meters in length (30 to 60 ft), and is most commonly reported as having dark brown, leathery skin. The creature’s neck is of a moderate length, and humps are sometimes mentioned. The head of the creature is said to look somewhat like that of a horse, only larger, with silver eyes, and is sometimes described as having two protrusions like giraffe horns on top. A few reports mention the creature making strange grunting or clicking noises. Interestingly, many witnesses also report having felt distinctly uneasy, disturbed, or “icky,” upon seeing the creature.
One very interesting characteristic of Kusshi is the high speeds at which it reportedly can move. In 1974, grainy footage was taken of a mysterious object moving across the lake at breakneck speed, said to be the alleged creature. Other pieces of alleged footage of the creature moving quickly over the water have surfaced over the years as well. Several reports mention this remarkable speed. In Sept, 1974, a group of 15 witnesses reported being surprised by a large, somewhat triangular shaped animal with shiny skin like glistening scales, moving under the surface of the water with the estimated speed of a motorboat. In 1988, a Mr. Takashi Murata was riding in a motorboat and reported being paced by a large animal at a distance of 15 meters away, which he described as having a dark back that looked like that of a dolphin. The animal followed him for a time, keeping up with the fast boat, before disappearing beneath the water.
Lake Kussharo’s alleged lake monster first came to widespread publicity during the 1970s due to a number of high profile sightings. In 1972, a man reported seeing an object that looked like a “boat turned upside down,” swimming quickly through the water. In August of 1973, a group of 40 middle school students on a field trip, as well as their teachers, spotted the creature not far from shore. In July, 1974, another famous case was reported by a Mr. Wada, a farmer who sighted a large, dark animal with several humps at intervals of 4 meters apart. The farmer watched the creature for some time before it submerged with a huge swell of water and a splash.
These sightings and many others like them brought attention to the lake, which culminated in an active search for the animal. For one month in Sept 1974, TV crews, boats equipped with fish finder sonar, and teams of divers explored the lake. These efforts produced some interesting results. Some of the sonar equipped boats reported finding unusual and large images of living creatures at depths of 15 to 20 meters.
Over the years, Kusshi has been photographed and filmed on several occasions, including as recently as 1990. Kusshi continued to be sighted throughout the 70s and beyond, sometimes by large groups of people. In May, 1976, Kusshi was sighted by a group of 22 tour bus passengers and their driver. As recently as 1997, a group of firefighters spotted a strange animal swimming 100 meters offshore, which they estimated as being 20 meters long, with a dorsal fin and banded markings. Another sightings was made by tourists in 2002, and reports occasionally pop up to this day.
Although media attention made Kusshi famous in the 1970s, it would be a mistake to think that this was the first indication of something strange or unknown in the lake. These stories have a long tradition among locals in the area. The indigenous Ainu people who inhabit the area have long told of giant snakes that inhabit the lake. Additionally, pioneers coming to the area during the Meiji era also told of seeing these creatures, which were said to attack and eat deer whole.