The calm caldera lake of Toya-ko (洞爺湖) is a unique tourist spot in the western part of Shikotsu-Toya National Park. The active volcano Usu-zan (737m) has erupted four times in the 20th-century, which created Showa-shinzan (398m) next to its mountain in 1944. Great eruptions caused a lot of damage in this area, however on the other hand, volcanic activity brought various benefits such as onsen and impressive views.
Toyako Onsen (洞爺湖温泉) lies on its southern shore, take at least stay one night off your trip. A lakeside promenade is a good stroll place, with a free ashi-yu (footbath). From late April to October, the fireworks set off on the lake at 8.45pm every night. It is a base of staying and hiking, plus good transport links from Sapporo and Noboribetsu Onsen. Take at least stay one night off your trip.
More info www.laketoya.com
(大和旅館) Toya’s most popular and oldest onsen ryokan on the high ground. Pleasant budget tatami-mat rooms and public baths offer a nostalgic atmosphere. Clean toilets and wash basins are shared. Wi-Fi is available at the lobby.
More info daiwa-ryokan.jp
Toyako Kisen Cruise
Toyako Kisen (洞爺湖汽船) loop cruise is the best way to seeing this beautiful lake.
From spring to autumn, boats call at Naka-jima (中島) island where you can visit the Forest Museum (森林博物館: ¥200) or hike a footpath (fill out an entry register). There is a night cruise (departing at 8.30pm; ¥1600) during the fireworks season.
More info www.toyakokisen.com
All buses for Toyako Onsen are stopping at the bus terminal. Donan Bus runs from JR Toya Station to Toyako Onsen terminal (18min; ¥340). Some buses from JR Toya Station continue to Higashi-machi (東町) at the Toya Sun Palace Resort & Spa.
Donan Bus operates services from Sapporo Station (4 daily; 2hrs 40min), stopping at Jozankei (1hr 50min) and Rusutsu Resort (40min). Three buses continue to the Sun Palace. Compulsory reservation.
There are two highway buses Iburi-go (いぶり号) from and to Noboribetsu Onsen (1hr).