There are many ways to enjoy Lake Toya. One of them is a swan boat ride. It is really fun!
Our family chose a pedal boat and embarked on an adventure.
The water was blue and shiny.
It was windy and the waves were a little rough. Sometimes, the boat went in the direction we were not expecting. At other times, it didn’t proceed at all but just swayed from side to side. The ride was thrilling. I can’t wait for the next ride!
Near Jigokudani, there is a large pond called Oyunuma. This pond was formed by the eruptions of Mt. Hiyoriyama. The mountain is an active volcano. Smoke is still being released from its slopes and its top.
The water of Oyunuma Pond is 130°C at the bottom. The color is gray-black. It has a sulfurous smell.
There is another pond near Oyunuma. It is much smaller, though. It is called Oku no Yu Pond. The surface temperature of the pond is about 80°C. It is too hot for a bath, but it is relaxing just to watch steam rising from the pond.
My family loves visiting Jigokudani or Hell Valley. It is full of energy. Because of its dynamic nature, it is believed that Oni (demons) live there.
Jigokudani is the largest source of Noboribetsu Hot Spring. The valley was formed by phreatic eruptions of Mt. Hiyoriyama.
While walking along the deck, you can see steam rising from fumaroles here and there. The air is filled with the smell of sulfur.
On the surface, you can see a variety of colors created by chemical reactions.
Gray-black water is running through the valley like a brook.
At the end of the deck lies a geyser. It is interesting to see the water boil vigorously in a sporadic manner.
The valley at night looks totally different. It is a mysterious experience.
On summer nights, you can enjoy Oni hanabi or Demons’ fireworks show. Six Oni launch their fierce hand-held fireworks by turns, while the other Oni rather calmly play the traditional Japanese drums. Their collaborative performance creates a surrealistic atmosphere.
I highly recommend seeing the night view of Hakodate. The cable car will take you to the top of Mt. Hakodate in three minutes.
As you go higher, the city lights start to twinkle.
The night view from the top of Mt. Hakodate is just spectacular. Some people compare it to a jewelry box. I’m sorry my photo doesn’t express it enough, but just imagine every single light is glittering.
I also liked how the moonlight was reflected on the sea.
Goryokaku is a star-shaped fort designated as a national special historic site. It was built in the last years of the Edo period and completed in 1866. It was Japan’s first western-style fort. Now it is open to the public as a park.
My family got off the train at JR Goryokaku Station. We enjoyed riding this old train car.
On arriving at the park, I was stunned by the gorgeous azalea flowers alongside the moat.
We crossed the bridge with excitement.
Then, we walked through a beautiful wisteria tunnel.
In the center of the park sits the Former Magistrate’s Office. It was the shogunate’s administrative center in Hokkaido. The original building was demolished in 1871, but it was restored and opened to the public in 2010.
We enjoyed strolling in the park. It was fun to walk along the bank of the moat. While walking, we were not sure we were really on the perimeter of a star shape. If you see the park from the observation deck of the Goryokaku Tower, you can see the entire star shape.
Coming down from the bank, we took a nice rest in the shade of trees.
We found a pretty daisy field. Tiffany liked it. It was really peaceful.
Lake Shikotsu has three unique characteristics. First, it is known for its crystal clear water. Second, it is the second deepest lake in Japan (after Lake Tazawa), with a maximum depth of 363m and an average depth of 265.4 m. Finally, it is unfrozen even in winter. In fact, it is the northernmost ice-free lake in Japan.
Look at the clear water!
This is the oldest railway bridge in Hokkaido, which was designed by a British engineer.
It is nice to get up early and take a walk along the lakeside, looking at wild plants.
There are several famous buildings in the Motomachi area. The Old British Consulate of Hakodate is one of them. The building is used as a museum. It has a beautiful garden outside. I was enchanted by the lovely roses.
In the Motomachi area, there is a gift shop called Usukeshi no Yakata, which sells delicious ice cream.
My husband and I ate ice cream, as we had done at the same place on our honeymoon more than 10 years ago. Hakodate has been and will always be my dream place!
Hakodate is definitely my favorite place. I love looking at buildings in the historical district Motomachi. Every time I visit there, I discover something new to me. I find beautiful designs here and there and gain artistic inspiration from them.
This is Russian Orthodox Church, which is one of the symbolic buildings of Hakodate.
Some buildings look traditional Japanese-style, while others look pseudo-Western style. They are combined to create a pleasant atmosphere.
Even the lampposts and fire hydrants are stylish in Hakodate.
Each slope commands a scenic view.
The Old Public Hall of Hakodate Ward is my favorite building.
Carl Raymon is a delicious German sausage shop. The building has a restaurant and a museum.
I like this old white building. The interior is simple and beautiful.