Hokkaido 2 - Akan and Meakan dake
First, I am sorry for the lack of updates for the last 3 weeks. Not only have I have been quite busy, but I also lost my Japanese grandmother and broke up with my girlfriend recently. I'm fine now but I didn't really feel like updating my site.
Right after Sapporo, I decided to head towards the east, as all weather forecasts were mentioning a typhoon coming from the opposite direction. My destination was Akan lake. After a couple hours, I finally arrived and chose a ryokan that seemed quite nice. I love the low season, there is no need to make any reservation anywhere. The ryokan was really spacious but the ceiling was a little tacky:
Anyway, the room was super clean and offered a wonderful view from the balcony:
And of course, any good ryokan has an onsen!...The baths were on the last floor, with a nice view over the surroundings:
But the best was the small staircase leading to the roof...and another awesome bath!
I didn't chose Akan lake randomly. Indeed, it is the closest point to Meakan dake, an active volcano which can actually be hiked. And I definitely wanted to do it!
I woke up extremely early the next day, once again because of the rain that was expected to fall early in the afternoon.
When I arrived, the weather was a bit cloudy but it would have just been stupid to go back:
The message is clear:
After a couple hundred meters in the forest, I was able to enjoy the beautiful scenery despite of the somewhat grey sky:
Reaching the summit was fantastic. The fumes, and especially the noise, were really impressive! I just didn't get as close as I did on mount Aso...
That part itself was worth waking up so early!!! Especially since the clouds came back as soon as I started to go down, it started to rain ten minutes later but it was light enough so I could reach the ending point, the lake on the following picture (which is not Akan lake), without being completely soaked:
This lake is famous for its color, but I couldn't appreciate that as I was in the middle of the fog upon arriving...
So what do you do outside when it is raining?...Well the answer is pretty simple, as always: bathe in a natural onsen! Right next to the lake is Yunotaki, an exceptional hot spring which is reached by following a trail in the forest for about 20 minutes. Here it is, an incredibly peaceful place:
And the water is, of course, naturally hot...
The way back to the ryokan, a long walk along the road under the rain, was not the nicest experience I had, but it allowed me to enjoy so much the bath I took when I arrived...