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October 21, 2017 - Lake Toya - A Land of Destruction and Beauty Part One
As part of my trip to Hokkaido, I had the chance to visit Lake Toya (Toyako). It was an overnight trip and a pit stop between Hakodate and Sapporo. One of the reasons why I wanted to visit here was not only the natural beauty, but also because it is a UNESCO Global Geopark site.
Part One will cover Lake Toya as a destination and some of the draws.
One popular way of travelling in Hokkaido is by train. Using primarily diesel trains, it slowly trundles through the island's wilderness. It takes about two hours to get to Toya Station then another twenty minute bus ride to the town that sits on the south side of the lake.
There are lots of onsen hotels that line the lake. There is a long boardwalk along the waterfront which provides amazing views of the lake. This was my hotel, and included a separate men/women onsen facility. The onsen was amazing as you wade in the onsen pool, relaxing to the sounds of dripping water and steam billowing from the pool. The facility also includes shower area with shampoo and soap, hair dryer, and vanity counter.
My hotel package face the mountain which was fine. It also included dinner and breakfast buffet. As in fine Hokkaido style, dinner buffet included a wide assortment of seafood like snow crab.
The boardwalk is paved and provides a comfortable walking environment. In addition to the hotels that line the boardwalk, there are lots of vegetation and art along the way. There is even a public onsen foot bath where you can dip your feet. When I was there the fall colours had pretty much ended other than the trees by the hotels.
The biggest draw of course is the lake itself. It is an almost circular lake with a volcanic island in the middle. There are boat cruises that takes tourists around the lake and to the island. The panoramic photo above does not do justice to the amazing scenery. To the distance is Mt. Yotei, which is a near perfect conical volcano.
Every night from April to October there are fireworks displays for tourists and hotel guests. It is an annual draw that attracts local and foreign tourists.
This sums up Part One of the trip to Lake Toya. Part Two will cover the UNESCO Global Geopark, located on Mt. Usu.