Nestled on the shores of Lake Tōya, Toyako is famed for its towering volcano and hot spring onsen. It’s home to fascinating museums that explore the history and ecology of its volcanic landscapes, together with a cable car and observation deck with city views.
Things to do in Toyako
Protected within Shikotsu-Toya National Park, the volcanic caldera lake of Tōya is the northernmost lake in Japan that never ices over. Enjoy a boat cruise to Nakajima Island in the middle of the lake where the Tōya Lake Forest Museum offers unique insight into the biodiversity of the region.
Photograph the volcanic lava dome of Shōwa-shinzan, which was created between 1943 and 1945 during a series of strong earthquakes. It was originally considered a bad wartime omen by the Japanese authorities, but its actively smoking, 400-metre-high dome is now one of the region’s most famous landmarks.
For some of the best views in Toyako, ride the cable car to the volcanic peak of Mount Usu and its observation deck. It boasts sweeping panoramas of Shōwa-shinzan and the city below, together with the sparkling waters of Lake Tōya.
Want to see footage of Mount Usu’s previous eruptions? Visit the Volcano Science Museum and trace its history of eruptions dating back to prehistoric times. Discover what causes volcanic eruptions and see models demonstrating the preventative measures in place to stop disasters occurring in the future.
Getting around Toyako
New Chitose Airport is 1.5 hours by train from Toyako, while Sapporo can be reached in around two hours. Buses travel throughout the region, but having your own vehicle is the best way of exploring Shikotsu-Toya National Park.