Lake Toya:Harmony of Forest and Lake

This entry is part 7 of 10 in the series Trekking Japan’s Scenic Seasons 1

Mio’s Introduction to Lake Toya

Hello, I’m Mio! Today, I’d like to introduce you to one of my favorite places, Lake Toya, and its wonderful trekking routes.

Exploring the Beauty of Nature: Lake Toya Trekking
Overview: Lake Toya is a caldera lake located in Hokkaido and part of the Toya-Usu UNESCO Global Geopark. Known for its stunning natural scenery, the area offers numerous trekking routes that let you enjoy the lake, surrounding mountains, and volcanic landscapes.

History and Fun Facts

Lake Toya was formed about 110,000 years ago (approximately 106,000 years ago) by a massive pyroclastic flow eruption. This eruption created a large caldera, which filled with water to become the present-day Lake Toya. At Toya-Usu Geopark, you can learn about the region’s volcanic history and natural beauty【155†source】.

Recommended Trekking Routes

  1. Nakashima Island Trekking: Take a boat to Nakashima Island in the middle of Lake Toya and enjoy a half-day or full-day private trekking tour. The island offers lush greenery, diverse wildlife, and scenic lake views【155†source】.
  2. Mount Usu and Showa Shinzan: Ride the Usuzan Ropeway to the summit for panoramic views of Lake Toya and the Pacific Ocean. The trail includes craters formed during the 1977 eruption, offering fascinating geological insights【155†source】.
  3. Kompira Crater and Nishiyama Crater Trails: These trails let you explore the aftermath of volcanic eruptions, with paths leading to various craters and lava domes. The trails are well-maintained with informative signs about volcanic activity and its effects【155†source】.
  4. Date Monbetsu Ridge Trail: This trail features gentle slopes and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and Lake Toya. It is great for those looking for a moderate hike with rewarding vistas【155†source】.

Seasonal Highlights

Spring at Lake Toya
Spring brings fresh greenery and blooming flowers. Cherry blossoms can be seen around Lake Toya, especially along the lakeshore. The new greenery decorates the lakeside and Nakashima Island, making trekking a delightful experience in the refreshing spring air.

Summer at Lake Toya
Summer offers lush green scenery and cool lake breezes. Water activities like boating and kayaking are popular on Lake Toya. The trekking routes on Nakashima Island and Mount Usu provide a cool escape during the summer heat.

Autumn at Lake Toya
Autumn brings beautiful fall foliage, especially seen from the Date Monbetsu Ridge Trail. The vibrant red and yellow leaves contrasting with the blue lake create a stunning view, perfect for trekking with a camera in hand. The dry autumn weather makes it an ideal season for trekking.

Winter at Lake Toya
Winter covers the area in a blanket of snow, creating a serene landscape. Snowshoe trekking is a popular activity around Lake Toya. The lake does not freeze, but the surrounding mountains become snowy, offering a beautiful view on sunny winter days. Winter trekking is also complemented by relaxing in hot springs.

Nearby Attractions

  • Toya-Usu Geopark: Learn about the area’s geological history and volcanic activity.
  • Hot Springs: Relax in the hot springs around Lake Toya after a day of trekking.

Public Transportation:

  • Train and Bus: From Sapporo, take the JR train to Toya Station. From Toya Station, local buses provide access to the main trekking areas around Lake Toya.

Note: Since Japanese rail and bus schedules are subject to change, please check with the respective railway and bus companies for the most up-to-date information.

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