Foliage, Fireworks and BBQ! The Many Appeals of Lake Toya
In Hokkaido, where the summers are short, the autumn is ushered in with the changing foliage ahead of the rest of the country. Here are some fall activities to enjoy in the popular Hokkaido destination of Lake Toya.
Oct 02 2019 (Feb 27 2022)
Take a Drive Along the Lake to See the Fall Colors
This nature-rich area centered on the volcanic caldera lake, Lake Toya, is registered as a Global Geopark. The best time to see the fall foliage is usually between early October and early November. Why not take a drive in a rented car to enjoy the beautiful fall colors? It is the 43km route that circumvents the lake using Hokkaido Routes 2 and 132 on which you can enjoy a fantastic view of the foliage and lake. Cars can be rented from an agency in Toya Station as well as at agencies around Muroran Station and Sapporo Station.
Enjoy a View of Lake Toya from the Silo Observatory
The Silo Observatory along National Route 230 to the east of the lake on the scenic route mentioned earlier is a popular spot from which you can see the entire lake. You can enjoy a majestic view of nature including the islands in the lake as well as faraway mountains. There is a also a souvenir shop selling famous Hokkaido snacks and a restaurant on the first floor. The lawn on the grounds is also a great place to relax on and enjoy the surrounding fall colors.
Enjoy a Barbecue Surrounded by the Fall Foliage
The next activity we recommend is barbecuing surrounded by the fall colors. Among the campsites near the lake, Green Stay Lake Toya, which can be used just for the day, is recommended for its great view and facilities. Camping gear, including portable stoves, are available to rent. The ingredients can be purchased at Uroko Abuta Store, a supermarket located about 15 minutes by car.
Camp site day use fee: 500 JPY/person for high school students and older; 200 JPY/person for elementary and junior high school students
*The image is for illustrative purposes only
*The image is of Lake Toya
Take a Cruise Boat on Lake Toya
Another recommended activity is to ride on a cruise boat on Lake Toya. You can enjoy a ride that stops at the various islands on the lake, including the Hokkaido sika deer paradise of Oshima. If you take the Espoir in the photograph, you can have an even more elegant time with a meal served in an on-board restaurant while cruising the lake.
Nakanoshima Cruise fare: 1,420 JPY/adult; 710 JPY/elementary school
Espoir fare, including lunch: 2,200 JPY/adult, 1,650 JPY/child
Enjoy the Lake Toya Long-Run Fireworks Nights
Although fireworks festivals are considered to be special summer events in Japan, at Lake Toya, the Long-Run Fireworks Nights is held from the spring to the fall. The site is along the lake in the Toyako Onsen town. During the period of the fireworks nights, approximately 20 fireworks are launched every night from 8:45 pm. The launcher moves while shooting up the fireworks so that the fireworks can be seen from anywhere in the onsen hot spring town. In addition, the cruise boats mentioned earlier have a special Fireworks Cruise on the days that the fireworks are displayed so check it out.
2017 fireworks schedule: Friday, April 28 - Tuesday, October 31
Fireworks Cruise fare: 1,600 JPY/adult, 800 JPY/elementary school
Lake Toya has much more to offer, including onsen hot springs that you can casually drop in at, and tasty gourmet food. Please visit!
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.