Limitless and spread out, Saroma-ko (サロマ湖) is Hokkaido’s largest lake (152-sq-km) as well as Japan’s largest lagoon connected with the Sea of Okhotsk. Sunsets over the lake are particularly spectacular.
Population (Saroma-cho) 5000
Highlights Wakka Genseikaen
If you have time to visit Abashiri or Kitami, we highly recommend spend the night at the gentle lakeside. There are virtually no daily bus service on the southern shore, so your own wheels will allow you to fully get around the lake.
01 WILDFLOWER GARDEN
ワッカ原生花園 / 242-1 Sakaeura, Tokoro-cho, Kitami-shi / Nature Center 8am-5pm, to 6pm Jun-Jul / Closed mid Oct-28 Apr / FREE tokorollc.sakura.ne.jp
Japan’s largest coastal wildflower garden on a 20km-long sandbank sandwiched between the Sea of Okohotsk and Saroma-ko, with over 300 species of colorful flowers bloom from May to October.
The Wakka Nature Center (ワッカネイチャーセンター) has information, maps and rental bikes (¥600). From here, the Ryugu Kaido trail (竜宮街道: 10km return) leads to the spring water of Wakka-no-Mizu (ワッカの水) in the westward. Other trails lead to the eastward along the sandy coast.
Wakka Genseikaen is about 1km west of the Gyokyo Shisho-iriguchi (漁協支所入口) stop on Kitami municipal bus route from Tokoro bus terminal.
02 SCENIC CAPE & CAMPING
Saroma-ko Kimuaneppu-misaki Camp-jo
サロマ湖キムアネップ岬キャンプ場 / Tel 01587-6-2878 / Horoiwa, Saroma-cho / Jun-Sep / No Wi-Fi
A remote free campsite on the southeastern cape of the lake, Kimuaneppu-misaki is surrounded by water and natural flowers. If the weather is good, you can see both gorgeous sunset and sunrise from here. Showers are available in July and August.
03 RIDER HOUSE
Kerochi Kotsu Park
計呂地交通公園 / Tel 090-7051-5656 / 2620 Kerochi, Yubetsu-cho / May-Oct / Check-in 4-7pm / No Wi-Fi
This formar railway station (Kerochi-eki) is now a budget rider house. You can stay inside the vintage carriages (¥300) or the old station master’s room (¥500).Bring your own sleeping bag. There is a paid shower room. From the park, a 300m-long boardwalk leads to the shore of Saroma-ko.
If you visit there by public transport, get on the municipal bus from Naka-Yubetsu TOM (中湧別TOM: opposite Kami-Yubetsu Onsen), on the bur route between Engaru and Monbetsu, and get off at Kerochi (計呂地: 5 daily / 30min). Ask a driver.
GETTING THERE & AROUND
From Abashiri or Kitami, there are three to four buses daily to Tokoro (常呂: 1hr+).
Kitami Municipal Bus (北見市営バス: ¥120 per ride) makes three loop runs daily from Tokoro, all buses stop at Sakaeura (栄浦: 15min), passes through the scenic agricultural villages. Several buses from Tokoro stop at Saroma-ko-iriguchi (サロマ湖入口), about 4km from Saroma-kohan Youth Hostel.