Japan Diaries 4: Day 293

Day 293: August 21, 2022

Sunday – From Osaka with Love Day 3

It was a picturesque Sunday morning as the sun bathed the surroundings in a warm glow. After savoring a delightful breakfast, we bid farewell to the Otaru Asari Classe Hotel and embarked on our next adventure. Ms. Akiko, eager to experience the charm of Otaru Canal, guided our way back to Central Otaru. However, upon our arrival, we discovered that the canal boat ride was fully booked, dampening our spirits momentarily. 

The view from our room in Otaru Asari Classe Hotel

We met our Japanese family at the lobby to wait for breakfast

Here's our breakfast for today. Yum!

Otaru Canal

Bye for now Otaru City!

Undeterred, we accepted the turn of events and set our course for the enchanting Lake Toya, nestled in the towns of Toyako and Sobetsu.

Akaigawa Roadside Station

Toilet break at Akaigawa Roadside Station

Akaigawa Pokemon Manhole Cover
Akaigawa Pokemon Manhole Cover

As we journeyed towards our destination, our curiosity led us to make a stop at the Akaigawa Roadside Station in the charming village of Akaigawa (赤井川村). To our delight, an agricultural fair was in full swing, infusing the roadside station with a lively and vibrant atmosphere. Among the myriad attractions, a gleaming Akaigawa Pokemon Manhole Cover (Pokefuta) caught our attention, adding to the collection of cherished mementos from our travels in Hokkaido. Naturally, I eagerly obtained the coveted stamp of the roadside station, marking yet another milestone in my Hokkaido Roadside Station stamp rally.

Driving through Route 230 from Akaigawa to Toyako

With hearts brimming with anticipation, we continued our journey toward the captivating Lake Toya, eager to explore its tranquil beauty and immerse ourselves in its serene ambiance.

Arrived at the town of Toyako

Lake Toya

From there, we continued to the next town which is Toyako (洞爺湖町). We parked in the parking lot near Toyako Gurutto Sculpture Park. The park had a very scenic walking path. From the park, you can see Nakajima Island in the middle of Lake Toya.

Lake Toya Cruise

Lake Toya Cruise to Nakajima Island

We didn’t stay long in the park though. We boarded the Toyako Steamship at the pier going to Nakajima Island. We explored the island for about 30 minutes before riding back on the steamship to the pier.

Nakajima Island

We explored part of the island with our Japanese family

Heading back to Toyako from Nakajima Island

Toyako Gurutto Sculpture Park

Toyako Pokemon Manhole Cover

After the Toyako cruise to Nakajima Island, we headed back and explored Toyako Gurutto Sculpture Park for a bit. We were able to see numerous sculptures on display in the park but the highlight of it was when we found the Toya Pokemon Manhole Cover. It features Vulpix and three Swinubs watching a geyser.

We drove along Route 2 from Toyako to Sobetsu

That's Showashinzan behind my family

Showashinzan Bear Ranch

From there, we drove to the town of Sobetsu (壮瞥町). We didn’t go to the town proper but instead went to its westernmost end. It was where Mt. Usu and Shōwa-shinzan were located.

We rode the Usuzan Ropeway going up Mt. Usu

The view keeps getting better and better the higher we get

Team Nicerio visits Mt. Usu Terrace

The view from Mt. Usu Terrace

It's amazing how Showashinzan really dominates the view

We rode the Usuzan Ropeway up Mt. Usu and were amazed by the beautiful view from Mt. Usu Terrace. When we got tired of taking pictures from the viewing area of Mt. Usu Terrace, we bought some soft cream and rested on one of the comfy chairs on the terrace.

Hiking up Mt. Usu Observatory

Mt. Usu Observatory

Our Mt. Usu experience didn’t end there though as we walked up to the Mt. Usu Observatory to see Mt. Usu’s crater. It’s a bit of an uphill walk but I’m glad everyone in the family managed to reach the top.

Looking for souvenirs in the Uzusan Ropeway Station

There were numerous stuff for sale at Wakasabimo Co., Ltd. Honpo Showa Shinzan

From there, we headed back down via the ropeway. We bought some souvenirs, including our birthday gift to Ms. Taeko at Wakasabimo Co., Ltd. Honpo Showa Shinzan store inside the ropeway station building.

Midorinokaze Resort Kitayuzawa

Soraniwa of Kita Yuzawa Forest

Since it was already the afternoon, we drove to our accommodation for the day which is the 4-star Midorinokaze Resort Kitayuzawa in Date City (伊達市). After checking in, we drove to the nearby Soraniwa of Kita Yuzawa Forest. This hotel looks exactly like ours but it has a kiddie playground and a wall-climbing facility. Ella and Karin enjoyed the playground while Ryo-kun and I got a bit competitive in wall climbing.

Our room in Midorinokaze Resort Kitayuzawa

Dinner time!

The best thing to do before sleeping is taking a dip in the onsen

Check out the different colors of the unique outdoor baths of Midorinokaze Resort Kitayuzawa

We then returned to Midorinokaze Resort Kitayuza to try out its amenities. That was when we got to appreciate it more. This hotel is by far, the best one that we’ve been to in our stay here in Hokkaido. The hotel has a lot of amenities. We enjoyed the dinner buffet and the onsen. Speaking of its onsen, the hotel has a 2-floor indoor onsen and an outdoor one with numerous kinds of baths like yomogi and blueberry baths.

Good night everyone!

Overall, today was full of adventure. We’re thankful to our Japanese family for another day of an awesome experience.

Read more:

Japan Diaries 4: Week 42
Japan Diaries 4: Weekend 42
Japan Diaries 4: Day 292


  1. I have read about Toyako from a friend who went there a long time ago. I want to see it for myself. I'm happy you and your family were able to go.

    1. Thank you. Toyako or Lake Toya is really a beautiful place. Given the chance, I'd bring my family here again in the future but next time we will probably camp near the lake.

  2. I really envy you. I hope I have a Japanese family too.


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