One Day in Lake Toya During Winter | Top 8 Scenic Spots | Relaxing at Lakeview Toya Nonokaze Resort

Toyako | The Day Trip

The second stop on our Hokkaido road trip was Lake Toya. Lake Toya is a caldera lake formed by the eruption of Mount Showa Shinzan. Since it was winter, our main goal, of course, was to enjoy the snow scenery. We spent a day in Lake Toya, primarily to admire the snow views and soak in the hot springs. Activities like sightseeing boats and hiking are not suitable in winter, but you can still drive around to see the "Eight Views of Lake Toya." Essentially, this involves driving around the lake's perimeter, where each different angle offers its own stunning view.

Day trip to Toyako

Lake Toya | Attractions

Ukimido Pavilion

Lake Toya is located about a little over two hours' drive from Hakodate. We arrived at Lake Toya in the afternoon and decided to take a drive around the lake before checking into our hotel. Among the Eight Views, I found the Ukimido Pavilion, located on the northern shore of the lake, to be the most beautiful in winter, with its breathtaking snow scenery. The area was deserted, enveloped in a tranquility so profound that it felt almost sacrilegious to disturb. Every step on the snow-covered path was taken with bated breath.

Toyako, Hokkaido Toyako, Toyako Winter 6

Tsutsuura Observatory

Another highly recommended spot for appreciating winter scenery is the Tsutsuura Observatory. It is one of the most popular attractions at Lake Toya, offering an unobstructed view of the entire lake. From this vantage point, you can clearly see both Showa Shinzan and Mount Usu. The observatory is also easily accessible by car. Despite the temperature being below minus ten degrees Celsius, there were still quite a few visitors.

Gourmet | Lake Hill Farm

After completing the loop around Lake Toya and collecting all eight scenic views, it's a great idea to find a place to sit down and relax. Lake Hill Farm is a unique establishment—it's a farm but feels more like a scenic café. They serve dishes made from fresh Hokkaido dairy products, including pizzas, pies, and ice cream, all of which are delicious. Lake Hill Farm was the only Western-style meal we had during our Hokkaido road trip. Since it's a farm-to-table operation, they are known for their fresh Hokkaido milk products delivered directly from the farm. Many people come here for their signature Italian ice cream. On the day we visited, we arrived a bit late, and many popular items were already sold out. In the end, we ordered a pizza, a glass of milk, and a glass of cocoa, with other items for takeout. The pizza was exceptionally tasty, with rich and creamy cheese made from fresh Hokkaido milk, giving it a unique flavor. The beverages were also delicious.

Accommodations | Lake View Toya Nonokaze Resort

Returning to the accommodation, it was already nearing dusk, so we quickly checked in at the hotel. This time, we stayed at the Lake Toya View Noina Resort, and upon arrival, we realized that our booking included both dinner and breakfast. The hotel featured large floor-to-ceiling windows facing Lake Toya, and its location was quite convenient. Just outside the hotel, a left turn led to the Sculpture Park, and it was also easy to reach the onsen street with various shops. The hotel offered buffet-style meals, which were more commercial in nature compared to upscale ryokan cuisine. Breakfast was more enjoyable than dinner.

In the evening, we could unwind in the comfortable open-air onsen at the hotel while enjoying the night view, relieving the fatigue from the day. It was definitely worth it.

Toyako, Hokkaido Toyako, Toyako Winter 17

Booking at the Nonokaze Resort in Lake Toya includes a one-night stay with two meals, served buffet style. I found the breakfast to be quite good, with a wide variety of tasty dishes, especially the rice balls, of which I ended up eating quite a few by accident. The dinner was lavish, although it felt a bit more commercialized.

Booking a stay at Lake View Toya Nonokaze Resort

Lake Toya Light Tunnel Viewing

If you're staying at Nonokaze Resort, don't forget to go out and enjoy the light display after dinner. During the winter months, Lake Toya features a light tunnel in the evening, spanning seventy meters in length, creating a dreamlike Christmas atmosphere. While the lights are beautiful, remember to wear sturdy shoes when walking on the snow. Within half an hour, I saw several people slip and fall, which is a small but important consideration in winter.

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