Lake Toya-ko, which is situated in the southwestern part of Hokkaido, belongs to the Shikotsu-Toya National Park. Repetitive volcanic activity in the early 20th century created a depression in the ground, giving birth to Lake Toya-ko as a result. This wide lake lies 200-500 meters below the outer rim of the crater. The active volcano that stands proudly near the lake with white smoke rising above it is Mt. Showa Shinzan. The volcano was elevated when the ground cracked during a huge earthquake in 1943. This created a 43-kilometer diameter crater lake, and is home to one of the best hot spring resorts in Hokkaido- Toya-ko Onsen.
Toya-ko Onsen is one of the best spa resorts in Hokkaido overlooking an amazing scenic view.
Lake Toya-ko is an ice-free lake. It never freezes even in winter when the temperature falls quite drastically. The beauty of this northernmost ice-free lake can therefore be admired anytime throughout the year. There is a little island called Nakano-shima in the middle of the lake and on it, there is Toya-ko Lake Forest Museum, which is a part of the sightseeing boat route. Trout and smelt fishing are very popular sports in and around the lake. Other places of interest include the Volcano Science Museum where they show visual images of the eruption that occurred in 1977 with a special sound system. There also camping sites that are well facilitated around the lake.
Noboribetsu in southwestern Hokkaido is home to Noboribetsu-onsen, Karurusu-onsen and the Noboritbetsu-Rinkai-onsen. The hot springs here have a rich variety of scenery including forests, lakes and marshes. Noboribetsu-onsen is one of Hokkaido’s best-known hot springs, and is surrounded by virgin forest 200 meters above sea level. It has over 10 kinds of water, containing minerals such as hydrogen sulfide, salt, and iron. The quality of these minerals means the spa ranks among the world’s most exceptional hot springs.
The most impressive scene at the hot spring is the emission of yellow-gray volcanic gas from the rocky surfaces in Jigoku-dani Valley, also known as Hell Valley.
In the northeastern part of the hot spring grow many sorts of wide-leafed trees, including oaks and a bamboo grass called kumaizasa. This is called Noboribetsu Genshirin, or primeval forest, and has been designated a natural monument. Around Shiho-mine Peak to the west, there is a bear farm where you can see brown bears. From the mountain summit you can view Lake Kuttara-ko, whose clear water is the second most transparent in Japan.
Sapporo White Illumination
Sapporo’s main street and central Odori Park are transformed into a kaleidoscope of light, as trees are decorated with millions of tiny light bulbs and light sculptures are erected along the park, providing a romantic backdrop for the strolling couples. Installation of symbolic works of art, trees decorated with approx. 370,000 lights.
Date : Late Nov. – mid Feb. 16:00-22:00.
Place : Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
Website : http://www.sweb.co.jp/
Sapporo Snow Festival
The Sapporo Snow Festival, one of Japan’s largest winter events, is attracting a growing number of visitors from Japan and abroad. Over two million people came to the annual event last year to see the hundreds of beautiful snow statues and ice sculptures which lined Odori Park , the main street in Susukino and Makomanai .
Date : Early February
Place : Odori Park, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
Website : http://www.snowfes.com/english/
Otaru Snow Gleaming Festival
The Otaru Snow Gleaming Festival is the most famous festival in Hokkaido and the reason lots of people want to visit Sapporo. The Snow Light Path Festival is a calm and peaceful festival as compared to the Sapporo Snow festival. The snow statues are hand made by the people in Otaru and volunteers from all over the world. With their creativity and imagination, the old streets of Otaru is transformed into a magical atmosphere complete with hand-made candles that warms people’s heart during the festival.
Date : Early to Mid. February
Place : Otaru, Hokkaido, Japan
Website : http://otarusnow.org/
Hakodate Christmas Fantasy Festival
In every December, “the fir tree ” that was donated from friendship town Halifax, Canada in Hakodate City crosses the ocean. “The huge Chirstmas tree” that occurs to the sea adds more blazes to the Christmas in romantic Hakodate. Also, as for the firework to go every day, the excursionist in addition to the citizen colors a night sky in the winter as much as making forget coldness.
Date : December
Place : Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan
Website : http://www.city.hakodate.hokkaido.jp/