Lake Shikotsu

Japan’s northernmost ice-free lake is a part of Shikotsu-Toya National Park

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Although it is located in a very cold region of Japan, the water at the bottom of the lake is quite warm which means it is a caldera lake that doesn’t freeze over. The area has numerous tourist spots and surrounding nature.
Lake Shikotsu, Chitose, Hokkaido

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Enjoy the magnificent landscape by the lakeshore

The origin of Lake Shikotsu came from the Ainu word for “big hollow”. It is a caldera lake which was formed about 40,000 years ago and is known for being the nation’s northernmost ice-free lake. Also, it is a beautiful body of water that boasts one of the best examples of clear water in Japan. In the area around the lake, there is a magnificent range of mountains including Mt. Eniwa, Mt. Tarumae and Mt. Fuppushi. You can enjoy yourself simply walking around the lakeshore area, but the excursion boat on the lake to enjoy the cobalt-blue waters is also recommended. The boat operates from mid-April to mid-November, and it’s notable for the 16 windows onboard from where you can view the lake bottom during the 30-minute trip. Also, Marukoma Onsen Ryokan on the shores of Lake Shikotsu is known for its secluded hot springs. A venerable onsen which started in 1916, its natural open-air bath is worthy of praise. The onsen enjoyed alongside a beautiful landscape is exceptional. At the resort village Kyukamura, there are events such as a forest walk tour at the lake and snowshoe walking in the winter.

A natural treasure box untouched by human hands

In lush Shikotsu-Toya National Park of which Lake Shikotsu is a part, there is also Lake Toya. With a variety of volcanic topography still remaining, you can see volcanic activity up close in a park where you can feel the spectacular respiration of the mountains that has been referred to as “an active volcano museum”. Onsen tourist areas such as Jouzan Gorge, Lake Toya and Noboribetsu exist because of this volcanic activity.

The Chitose-Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival

What especially shines at Lake Shikotsu in winter is the Chitose-Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival, a winter festival that represents Hokkaido. The lake colorfully lit up at night and the natural ice sculptures made from the lake water are magical. A romantic mood is further created from the launching of fireworks.

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