Nestled within Shikotsu-Toya National Park near the city of Chitose, Lake Shikotsu is a deep caldera lake formed in a volcanic crater. Surrounded by picturesque mountains, the lake buzzes with activity from water sports, fishing, scuba diving and boating.
Thing to do
There’s no need to get wet when enjoying nature at Lake Shikotsu, with plenty of opportunities for cycling, picnicking and hiking. Wildlife is abundant near the lake, including Hokkaido brown bears and Japanese red foxes. Bird observation huts offer convenient ways to spot myriad bird species such as woodpeckers and the Japanese white-eye.
Hot springs in the lake area offer relaxation and rejuvenation at places such as Bijin no Yu, which translates as “water of the beautiful.” You can alternate between lay-down spring-water baths, jetted stand-up baths and outdoor natural springs accompanied by soothing music.
The small village of Shikotsu Kohan offers a visitors centre and lodging along the lakeshore. Locals operate rental stands for boats, bicycles and scuba gear, while cruise operators provide sightseeing via glass-bottomed boats from spring through autumn. In the winter, travellers come from near and far to view sculpted ice exhibits at the annual Ice Festival.
In Shikotsu Kohan, eateries offer a wide array of cuisine, many focusing on local specialties such as red salmon and other seafood. Many upscale restaurants are less than an hour away in Chitose, such as Log House Wagyu Bibi Restaurant and Asian Bar Ramai.
Lake Shikotsu is a remote destination serviced by a few buses per day from Shin-Chitose Airport to Shikotsu Kohan. The buses also stop at Chitose Station on the way to the lake. Rental cars are available in Chitose as well as in downtown Sapporo, about an hour from the lake along winding Route 463.