I’ve visited the lakes in Japan before — they’re amazing, especially those surrounded by mountains. I thought I’d be visiting just another lake here, but nothing prepared me for the beauty that’s surrounding Lake Toya at the Shikotsu-Toya National Park.
Lake Toya is a huge lake created by a gigantic eruption which resulted in the Toya caldera (the sunken land as a result of volcanic eruptions) and its surrounding plateau, creating this beautiful scenery and also good sites for geotourism. During winter, the top of the mountains are covered in snow, but the lake is never frozen, even when it’s incredibly cold, so visitors can still enjoy the lake view.
From Hakodate, we took the JR Hokuto express train and went up north, on a 2-hour ride to the Toya Station. Once we reached to the station, the ojisan driving taxi jumbo that we hired was there to take us to the Silo Observatory, our destination near the lake. Minutes later we were on the road, going uphill in the mountains in circles.
My god, this was no normal ride. The journalists and I were just awestruck by the view, we were looking outside the whole time! From the hills we could see glimpses of the lake and the mountains and everything seemed so magical, it seemed out of this world. Good place for Elsa to build her ice castle.
So cantik, that I chose to concentrate on looking outside the window instead of taking pictures. Yes, I totally regret it now :p
Took us 20 minutes to reach the Silo Observatory, probably one of the best places to view Lake Toya and its surrounding. The observatory is a 2-story complex built high up on one of the hills. The 1st floor of the complex is where you can get souvenirs and local produce, while the 2nd floor hosts a Japanese restaurant. There’s also a great lake viewing spot of the lake.
I walked further in the super thick snow (up to my knees!) and reached the spot that gave me the whole view of Lake Toya, the Nakajima lava domes and Mt. Usu, the active volcano. Trust me, you have to see the view for yourself because the pictures I have don’t do it justice. It’ll leave you breathless!
If this were the view outside the window of my bedroom at home, I wouldn’t want to go out. Spent a good 30 minutes just walking around the spot to breathe the fresh air appreciate the scenery in front of me. I’d go back just to see it again.