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Lake Toya or Lake Shikotsu 2008/1/28 01:53

Is Lake Toya or Lake Shikotsu more worth a visit (in terms of scenery) in Feb? I thinking of going to Shikotsu so can catch the Hyoto Festival as well but afraid that transport will be more inaccessible. I would be travelling to Hakodate after this. Please advise.

by Jas  

Nature or Tourist shops? 2008/1/28 15:32
Lake Shikotsu (Shikotsu-kotan) has fewer hotels but one youth hostel in the middle of town. The place seems to make money by charging for parking. The town is also very small with only a couple of tourist shop streets. Getting to and around the lake is the main problem as transport is lean. The main activities are climbing the nearby volcanoes and then soaking in a hot spring by the lake in the evening. There are also canoe rentals if you want to paddle around although they seemed expensive. I think the campgrounds open 1 June.

Lake Toya is easily accessible, has a youth hostel on the east side of town, and a lake lined with hot spring hotels where the customers rarely venture outdoors. There are also a couple of minshuku and snacks where the youngest woman was around 80 (not my quote). A Donan bus from the JR Toya or Date station will take you to the lake. Other buses will take you between the hostel and Showa Shinzan, a new off-shoot of Mt. Usu and the Toya bus station. The area around Shinzan is filled with tourist shops sporting carved bears with fish in their mouths, as well as carved owls, horses, and 7 gods. When Usu is behaving you can take a ropeway up and walk to an overlook to see the 1977 crater. On the NE side, you can see where the March 2000 eruption dented the roads and buildings. There is also a boat shaped like a castle that takes you out to the islands in the middle of the lake which also has a tourist shop and an area with penned Ezo deer. At 9 PM in the summer, there are fireworks over the lake which are pretty if you don't wonder about all the burnt paper and powder falling nightly into the lake. If the smoke drifts southward, it sometimes envelops the shore and you can no longer see but can only hear the explosions.

I've been to Toya 2ce and felt that I didn't need to return. I've only been to Shikotsu-ko 1ce and would like to go back for a longer relaxed stay.
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