Daisetsuzan National Park’s only natural lake, Shikaribetsu-ko (然別湖) feels isolated and mysterious destination. Winter visitors marvel at its ice village with an onsen on the frozen lake. There is only one onsen hotel on the western shore of the lake, but it is worth a night.
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Sleeping in Shikaribetsu-kohan Onsen
Set directly on the shore of Shikaribetsu-ko overlooking the lake, the long-running Hotel Fusui (ホテル風水) offering pleasant Japanese-style rooms with the finest views. It has a fabulous onsen with open-air baths.
Shikaribetsu-ko Sightseeing Cruise
然別湖遊覧船 / 7am-4pm 20 May-3 Nov / 40min / ¥1000 / www.hotelfusui.com/enjoy
The sightseeing boat set off from the Hotel Fusui to make a 40-minute cruise on the lake. There is also a night cruise departs at 8pm on a clear day, ask for staff by 6pm. Hotel Fusui offers a discounted combination package (tokutoku plan: ¥2300) and available for the cruise, lunch and onsen (noon-5pm). Rowing boat is ¥1000 for per hour. Autumn is the best time to cruising.
02 ICE FESTIVAL
然別湖コタン / Late Jan-late Mar / Shikaribetsu-ko / Onsen 6.30am-10pm / FREE / kotan.jp
Only open 60 days each year, this mysterious ice igloo village is on the frozen lake Shikaribetsu-ko. The highlight here is a mixed free onsen roten-buro (open-air bath), you can wear swim suit into the bath. Male-only time is from 6pm to 8pm, and female-only time is from 8pm to 10pm. There is also an ashi-yu (footbath).
The ice bar offers coffee (10am-5pm) and cocktails (8-10pm). Ice glass is ¥500. Driving a snowmobile and cross-country tours are also available. Hotel Fusui features the ice lodges on the lake (from ¥12,200 per person).
From Obihiro Station, Takushoku Bus 51 runs to Shikaribetsu-kohan Onsen (然別湖畔温泉: 4 daily / 1hr 40min) via Shikaoi Eigyosho-mae (鹿追営業所前: 1hr). Bus 52 and 53 runs to Shikaoi Eigyosho-mae (2-7 daily) from Obihiro. If you move between Shikaribetsu-ko and JR Shintoku Station, some buses are timed to meet at Shikaoi Eigyosho-mae.