6-Day South Hokkaido Itinerary
Above shows a snapshot of Hokkaido on Google Maps and an overview of the route we took. Clearly, there were more places in Hokkaido I would love to visit but due to the brevity of time and accessibility by our JR East-South Hokkaido Pass, we were limited to 5 cities: Hakodate, Lake Toya, Noboribetsu, Sapporo and Otaru.
I first plotted my route according to the attractions we want to visit on Google Maps. When I’m done with the final bookmarking, I export it to a phone app, Maps.me, through this method, which allows me to transfer all my bookmarks into the app and use it offline on the go!
With chasing sakuras and excellent Japanese cuisines in mind, we set off to places that offered the best of these!
Day 2: Toya
Toya is a peaceful and quaint little town that is known for its hot springs and the magnificent view of Lake Toya.
Most of the hotels, should you choose to spend a night here, overlooks Lake Toya. We especially loved our hotel, Granvillage Toya Daiwa Ryokan, for its traditional ryokan-style room, a gorgeous undisrupted view of Lake Toya, and for having their very own onsen in the hotel! I could soak away all the fatigue from all the hours of hectic travelling. The downsides to it is that breakfast was not included in the stay, and each room does not have its own private toilet.
At 8pm every night, fireworks will explode over the calm and alluring Lake Toya. Our hotel gave us the privilege of front-row views of the fireworks in the warmth and coziness of my hotel room. It was 14 degrees when we went in the first week of May.
A short 6-minute ride up the gondola on the Usuzan Ropeway brought us up near the summit of Mount Usu, an active volcano that last erupted in year 2000.
There are two very picturesque observation decks – the first offers a panoramic view of Lake Toya and Showa Shinzan (another volcano); the second offers views of the endless ocean and Mount Usu’s largest crater, Ginnuma Crater.
The Ginnuma Crater was created by the 1977 eruption. The powerful crater basin pumps out vapour before your very eyes. Looking down, you can see the magnificent sight of Volcano Bay.
While we did not complete this trek, you can walk along the outer rim of Usu to the Usu Outer Rim Observation Deck. It descends downwards from the crater basin viewing platform. While circling the outer rim, you can observe the lava dome and crater basin. It takes approximately 40 minutes one way.
At the base of Mount Usu, there are various restaurants and souvenir shops for you to peruse, while waiting for the bus back to Toya Station.
Ticket price: Round trip ¥1500 on the gondola Operating hours: 08:15 - 17:30 Getting to Mount Usu: A direct bus from Toya Station to Mount Usu is available. Obtain a bus timetable at the station's tourism office. Duration: 15 minutes from Toya Station
Recommended duration in Toya: 0.5 to 1 day
Next post: Noboribetsu & Otaru
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