Lake Toya 洞爺湖エリア
The scenic heart of Shikotsu-Toya National Park
Lake Toya serves as the hub of the vast Shikotsu-Toya National Park. There's stunning scenery as far as the eye can see.
Famous spa resorts offering luxurious hotels with famous baths and frequent fireworks, smoking active volcanoes, picturesque campgrounds, and a beautiful forest all sit under the watchful eye of Mt. Yotei.
- View fireworks from a hot bath
- A lake made for a marathon
- Stunning views in every direction
How to Get There
Located southwest of Sapporo and New Chitose Airport, Lake Toya is nestled between Hokkaido's powder skiing wonderland, Niseko, and the Pacific south coast.
From Tokyo, you can reach Lake Toya by flying to Shin-Chitose Airport in Sapporo and then jumping on a local train from there. Alternatively, you can ride the shinkansen all the way from Tokyo, a journey which is completely covered by the JR Rail Pass.
Local buses to the area operate from the nearby Toya Station. Hiring a rental car is also a good option. Conveniently, many of the large local hotels offer plenty of parking. If you are based in Niseko or Rusutsu, it takes less than an hour to drive to the lake. Just go south. The journey from the southern port of Hakodate will take you two and a half hours.
Baths and beyond
Slip into a lake-edge onsen hot pool or marvel at the view from a rooftop bath. Whether you want the atmosphere of a world-class hotel or a down-to-earth local hangout, Toya has you covered. Make day trips to nearby Shikotsu and Noboribetsu to bask in the renowned waters. Relax in a yukata robe in the hotel, or take a pleasant stroll along the lakefront and enjoy the quirky sculptures and friendly locals.
Mt. Usu and Showa-shinzan
Take the ropeway and look back at the lake from the top of one of Japan's most active volcanoes. From the top of Mt. Usu , see the newly formed Showa-shinzan, which burst from the ground less than 75 years ago. On a clear day, you will be treated to panoramic views of the National Park. Look out at the Pacific Ocean and, if you're lucky, you'll see orcas and dolphins who come there to breed in summer.
In May, the shorefront plays host to the Lake Toya Marathon. At 43 kilometers (26.7 miles) around, the site seems as if it was custom made for this event. The ground is relatively flat, and there are shorter distances available for those looking for an easier run. The marathon has been running for over 40 years, with many competitors returning annually to enjoy the uniquely scenic competition.
Cosplay the day away
Visit Lake Toya toward the end of June, and you'll be in town at the same time as the Toya Manga and Anime Festival. The festival has run since 2013, so it is one of the newest events on offer in the Lake Toya area. You don't have to dress up as your favorite character for the occasion, but many fans will. People from far and wide flock to the festival to enjoy appearances by famous voice-actors and artists, as well as the wonderful atmosphere and festival food by the lake.
Camping and cycling
Dotted around the lake are a number of scenic campsites. Facilities range from free and basic sites to more upmarket drive-in “auto-camps.” Use Toya as a base to explore the area, or pass through on your bike on your way around the National Park. The added bonus of having hot springs nearby means you can always go to bed clean, warm, and very relaxed. The very low level of light pollution creates the perfect conditions for some peaceful stargazing.