close

Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Nature

Mt Usu 有珠山 昭和新山

## Bird's-eye views from an active volcano

Look over sparkling Lake Toya from active volcano Mt. Usu. From the base of the neighboring Mt. Showa-shinzan, catch a ropeway to the top for spectacular panoramas of the lake and the Pacific Ocean. Follow the easy hiking trail to the observatory to see the crater. As you look back to the steamy red smaller volcano, you will see an incredible contrast of colors against the blue water and sky.

How to Get There

The Mt. Usu and Mt. Showa-Shinzan area is most easily accessible by car.

The area can be enjoyed in all seasons. Drive to the south side of Lake Toya and follow the signs to the base of Mt. Showa-shinzan. From there, the ropeway takes about six minutes to reach the top.

The site is two hours from Sapporo or one and a half hours from New Chitose Airport.

Quick Facts

The UNESCO Geopark designation comes with an extensive trove of information online and at visitor centers in English, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean about the area around Lake Toya and Usu Volcano

There have been four eruptions of Mount Usu in the past 100 years: in 1910; 1944–45; August 7, 1977; and March 31, 2000

Mountains old and new

The older, taller Mt. Usu has stood next to the lake for 20,000 years. Mt. Showa-shinzan suddenly emerged from a farm field only recently, in 1943. Its name means “new mountain,” and it is active to this day. These two volcanos are some of the most active in Japan, with eruptions every 30–50 years.

Volcano village

Together with Lake Toya, Mt. Usu and Mt. Showa-Shinzan hold UNESCO Geopark status, and they are part of the greater Shikotsu-Toya National Park. There is an information center about the volcanos and the geology of the area on-site. Feel what it is like to be inside a volcano in the eruption experience room. There are shops for souvenirs, a café, and even volcano-style Hokkaido butter ramen.

At the visitors' center, you can get information about the footpaths, hiking courses designed to provide a combination of natural beauty and a fascinating glimpse into the geological wonder of the area. The routes include easy, intermediate, and somewhat difficult hikes, including courses that circle Lake Toyako. On your hike, enjoy views of the volcanos, forest, and lake and experience a feeling of closeness to nature. Guided tours are available. Contact information is available on the Geopark website.