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Lake Toya vs Lake Akan 2024/2/22 21:50
I'll be in Hokkaido the second week of june and part of my stay will be a circular route by car from/to New Chitose Airport during 4'5 days (4 nights).

This route will not include Sapporo or Otaru since I'll be going there after leaving the car.

My idea so far is: Furano-Asahikawa-Abashiri-Lake Akan and back.

But reading around in this forum I'm getting the idea that the area around Lake Toya and Noboribetsu is probably the big "must" to visit in Hokkaido.

Is it really like this? Going to lake Toya means loosing quite some time getting there and back from the airport before getting deeper into Hokkaido.

Is lake Toya area that much better than Lake Akan to justify the change of route?
by nuflo  

Re: Lake Toya vs Lake Akan 2024/2/23 06:41
This obviously depends on personal preference. I think Noboribetsu is one of the best onsen in all of Japan and would definitely give it a higher priority than Akan because I love onsen. But I am not a big fan of Lake Toya, although it is great for studying the destructive powers of a volcano. Akan is very far away from everything else. If going that far, I'd rather go to Shiretoko. The best thing around Lake Akan for me is Mount Meakan, which has one of the most amazing volcanic landscapes in Japan if you climb it.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Re: Lake Toya vs Lake Akan 2024/2/23 08:04
I didn't go to Lake Akan, but I spent a night on the south of lake Toya after walking around a bit (Nishiyama trail + Konpira-yama route). The Nishiyama trail was super interesting. We also went to the information center that had exhibitions about the geological features of the area, but that was not so much my thing.

The lake itself... honestly, it was really just a lake, not worth a detour by itself. In retrospect, we should have gone to Noboribetsu instead, but it was in September with quite a hot weather, and the idea of visiting the "Hell valley" was not so appealing to me at that time.
by Mellye rate this post as useful

Re: Lake Toya vs Lake Akan 2024/2/23 19:52
Onsen's aren't my priority, most of all because my partner is heavily tattoed so I know it will be hard to find a "real" onsen that allows it.

From my point of view is more in a sense of uniqueness. If lake toya and lake akan are "similar" I have no problem choosing which one to see based on practicity, but if, for instance, Hell Valley is something that you really must see if you visit hokkaido and there's nothing quite like it in the rest of the island, then I will rearrange my route.
by nuflo rate this post as useful

Re: Lake Toya vs Lake Akan 2024/2/24 01:56
@ nuflo

My two cents, I would recommend Lake Akan.
Firstly, you have already planned to drive to Abashiri, Akanko is already on your way; you may also want to continue to Shiretoko to experience the Kamuiwakka-yu-no-taki:
Secondly Hell Valley is in Noboribetsu, not in Lake Toya.
Thirdly, if you are after a "scene of Hell Valley" there is Iozan in Akan-Mashu National park:
Lastly, if you visit Akanko, you are able to visit Mashuko, Kussharoko and Iozan:
Also if you are adventurous enough, try Kotan onsen, free rotenburo next to Kussharoko, " full body tattoos" allowed. Beware swans might be watching you.
by liem (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Lake Toya vs Lake Akan 2024/2/24 02:15
If you can see both, I suggest you do so. It's easy to just say they're both lakes so who cares. But they're both quite nice. The marimo at Akan are quite amazing. They take ages to grow, and there are only a few places on the whole planet to see them. The other big question is if you'll return to Hokkaido again - it is a very big island, and nobody sees it all in one visit.
by Ken (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Lake Toya vs Lake Akan 2024/2/24 02:43
Interesting, I thought both Lake Toya and Lake Akan were very beautiful and well worth visiting.
However, Noboribetsu hells are great but the town disappointed me, it's very much on the "huge tour group" circuit so there are buses of huge groups absolutely everywhere, not my scene.

I'd stick with your route of Furano-Asahikawa-Abashiri-Lake Akan, it's plenty, great and varied with enough driving.

by Denis C rate this post as useful

Re: Lake Toya vs Lake Akan 2024/2/24 02:51
Like someone else mentioned, Hokkaido is a big Island, exploring it takes time. And remember driving times are long, better concentrate on parts of the island than put all time in driving.

I actually went to Hokkaido and drove to Shiretoko but took the train traversing the longer distances.

I would expect less tourists in Akan though as it is further from Sapporo.
by Gojo (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Lake Toya vs Lake Akan 2024/2/24 04:07
I mean, yes, lake Toya is nice, but we also have plenty of pretty lakes in Europe (Constance, Leman, Garda...). It would certainly be totally worth a substantial detour for someone who really enjoy lakes , though.

For me, it's mountains and coastal views. Like, Kamikochi is honestly just a mountainous valley, and we have plenty of that in the Pyrenees & Alps. But I love that kind of landscapes and don't mind the extra travel.

As someone who doesn't have any particular interest in lakes (but still enjoy them when I have the opportunity): lake Toya is not worth a 2 hours drive, when the rest of your trip is on the other side of the island. Now, if you decide to visit Noboribetsu, I think it would be worth a small detour!
by Mellye rate this post as useful

Re: Lake Toya vs Lake Akan 2024/2/24 05:55
Noboribetsu is all about the waters. 6 or 7 different sources with completely different types of water, all to be enjoyed in one single bath facility at the Takimotokan. If that does not sound amazing to you, you can skip the town.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Re: Lake Toya vs Lake Akan 2024/2/24 18:02
I've already read several comments about how long it takes driving around. Maybe Google Maps timings are wrong, but if not, I don't really mind a 3/4 hours drive per day. And trains don't look that convenient out in the countryside.
by nuflo rate this post as useful

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