Hokkaido 7 - Shikotsu
The sun finally came back out after several days of cloudy weather, right on time for my plans. I had indeed decided to do my third and last hike of that trip, this time only one hour by bus from Sapporo, right next to Shikotsu lake.
Despite its proximity with Sapporo, the lake is perfectly preserved from mass tourism, as there are only two hotels on its perimeter. The one I was the most interested in was already full so I ended up booking a night at the other one. It wasn't a disappointment though, as the view from the room was just as great:
As I arrived quite early, I chilled out a little bit, took a bath in the rotenburo (open-air bath), had lunch and had someone drive me to the start of the hiking trail. That hike goes to the top of another active volcano (there's just so many in Hokkaido!), but I have to say that it wasn't nearly as impressive as mount Aso in Kyushu or Meakan-dake, which I already wrote about: no direct view on the caldera, and very little fumes:
Nevertheless, hiking a volcano is still an awesome experience, especially when you get rewarded with a wonderful view when you reach the top:
The next morning, I woke up at dawn to enjoy the sunrise from the rotenburo:
By the way, here is the bath:
Yes, it is an onsen and as such, the water is naturally hot! Besides, and as far as I know this is unique in Japan, the onsen is directly connected to the lake! This picture, taken the day before, shows how it works:
Obviously the onsen is on the left, and the lake on the right. But: the "passage" in the middle is only open at one end, and the onsen is connected to that passage via a very narrow opening, therefore limiting exchanges between the lake and the bath and keeping the latter hot.