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Travel Reports by Villagemayor view profile of Villagemayor

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October 21, 2017 - Lake Toya - A Land of Destruction and Beauty Part Two

This is Part Two of my blog on Lake Toya, This blog will highlight some of the sights at the Mt Usu UNESCO Global Geopark.

Mt. Usu is a massive volcano stretching may square kilometres. However, it is not a very tall volcano either. Whereas many volcanoes may have one or two vents, Mt. Usu traditionally have spewed lava and superheated rocks throughout its summit from active and inactive vents.

You can visit Mt. Usu in every aspect in Lake Toya, and the hiking trails are not difficult to climb because the volcano is not very tall. The following are some the places I visited.

Showa Shinzan is the newest lava dome created.
"Volcano Village" is a collection of commercial buildings for tourists.

The first location is Showa Shinzan which is the newest lava dome created on Mt. Usu in the 1940s. Today it stands 398 metres and growing. You can see in the photo you can actually walk up to it rather closely. Sulfuric steam billows out but generally is safe to visit. At the base of Showa Shinzan is a collection of dated commercial buildings.

To get here you will have to take the taxi or catch the Donan Bus that departs from the Toyako Bus Terminal. It makes runs several times a day, so make sure you catch the last bus.

View of Showa Shinzan from the ropeway.
Amazing views of the forest below from the ropeway.
Up on the summit peak. Rocky outcrops at the very top of the volcano.
Steam billowing out of vents from the mountaintop crater.
Wildlife in full showing.

From Showa Shinzan, there is a ropeway which takes you to the summit of Mt. Usu, which was the second place I visited. Although it cost 1,500 Yen round trip, this is a trip worthy of a few hours. At the summit there are numerous hiking trails that takes you throughout the volcano. There is wildlife everywhere which allows you amazing closeup shots of plants and insects.

The mountaintop crater is one of the main attractions where from a distance, you can see steam still billowing out from the vents. The trails are easy to moderate difficulty.

Overall the trip to Mt. Usu was astounding. I have been to numerous volcanoes and Mt. Usu is one of the most interesting. There isn't one single thing that I can say represents Mt. Usu as there are many facets to it.

Part Three will conclude with a trip to a living museum of Mt. Usu's destruction.

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List of Posts:
2017/10/24 - Otaru - Land of History and Economic Power Part One
2017/10/24 - Otaru - Land of History and Economic Power Part Two
2017/10/22 - Lake Toya - A Land of Destruction and Beauty Part Three
2017/10/21 - Lake Toya - A Land of Destruction and Beauty Part Two
2017/10/21 - Lake Toya - A Land of Destruction and Beauty Part One
2017/10/20 - Hakodate in 18 hours - Part Two
2017/10/20 - Hakodate in 18 hours - Part One
2017/10/20 - All aboard the Hokkaido Shinkansen in Gran Class style
2015/12/06 - Tsukiji's Last Breath
2015/12/02 - Kawagoe Day Trip
2015/11/29 - Pokemon Train on the JR Ofunato Line
2015/11/29 - Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture
2015/11/28 - Yamadera
2015/11/23 - The Architecture of the Yoyogi National Gymnasium