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[Lake Kuttara in Shiraoi] Roundest Lake in Japan

July 19th, 2017

Lake Kuttara

Lake Kuttara (倶多楽湖) is a circular caldera lake in Shiraoi town, and was born by volcanic activity 80,000 years ago. A road leads to the lake only from Noboribetsu not the Shiraoi, and it is nearby Noboribetsu Onsen (登別温泉). In Shikotsu-Toya National Park, the perimeter of the lake is about 8 km, and the maximum depth is 148 m. The transparency of the lake is very high because the lake as well as Lake Mashu (摩周湖) does not has a river at all. After the Lake Mashu, the lake water has the 2nd transparency in Japan. A Ministry of the Environment reported 2001 Measurement Results of Water Quality in Public Waters (2001年度公共用水域水質測定結果), and the Lake Kuttara won 1st place in lake and pond section. In addition, the lake is the roundest lake in the Japan. Because the development is limited, a primeval forest of Hokkaido is still abound relatively. The lake can be seen from the Lake Kuttara Lakeside and Ogigata Lookout (扇型展望台) along Hokkaido Road 350. But The Hokkaido Road 350 is closed from late November to late April.

Lake Kuttara
Lake Kuttara in Shiraoi
Autumn Lake Kuttara
Lake Kuttara in Shiraoi

The Kuttara means "A place that Japanese knotweed grow thick" in Ainu language. The lake at about 260 m above sea level is surrounded by the outer rim of a volcanic crater at about 500 m above sea level. The highest mountain is Mt. Kustutaro (窟太郎山) at about 530 m above sea level. The lake can be seen from Noboribetsu Bear Ranch (登別クマ牧場), too, and is popular for fishing Kokanee, too. In early 1900s, Ms. Tome Nakao (中尾トメ) called "Lady on horse" worked on farmed Kokanee. Mr. Yoshinori Yagi (八木義徳), an Akutagawa Prize winner, wrote a short story "Lake Kuttara" as a motif. Click KAI in Japanese for more info.

Noboribetsu Onsen

Noboribetsu Onsen (登別温泉) is a famous hot-spring resort in Noboribetsu city located in the northeastern part of Muroran city, and is one of the 3 major hot spring resorts in Hokkaido together with Jozankei Onsen (定山渓温泉) and Yunokawa Onsen (湯の川温泉). Hot springs spring 10000 liters everyday, so a quantity of the hot springs is abundant, too. About 3 million tourists come every year. Noboribetsu Onsen is one of major hot-spring resort that around 14 accommodations open in Hokkaido. Except the hot springs, there are abundant sightseeing spots such as Jigokudani (地獄谷 * Hell valley), Noboribetsu Bear Ranch (のぼりべつクマ牧場) and Lake Kuttara (倶多楽湖), too. There are a footbath, restaurants, cafes, bars with a surcharge, souvenir shops and Noboribetsu Gateway Center (登別ゲートウェイセンター) sponsoring activities at the hot-spring resort. Onsen Ichiba (温泉市場) and Jigoku Ramen of Aji-no-Daio Nobotibetsu Onsen Branch (味の大王 登別温泉店の地獄ラーメン) are popular in particular. In addition, a huge ogre with 18 m in height stands at an entrance of the hot-spring resort and he greets us. A mascot of Noboribetsu Onsen is the ogre. The ogres can be seen here and there. Article is here

Huge Red Ogre
Noboribetsu Onsen Huge ogre

Jigokudani and Fall Foliage

Jigokudani (地獄谷 * Hell Valley) is an explosion crater in Noboribetsu Onsen (登別温泉) located in the western part of Lake Kuttara (倶多楽湖), and was born by eruptions of Mt. Kasa (笠山) 10,000 years ago. A lot of hot spring gushing out points and fumaroles are on the explosion crater of about 11 ha. Wasteland without trees and grass has been some hot spring rivers and volcano smoke, and it was associated with a Buddhism hell that demons live in by people in old times, so here was named "Jigokudani". It is well-known as a synonym for the Noboribetsu Onsen, and around the Jigokudani is famous for a scenic spot to see autumn leaves. Oyunuma Pond (大湯沼) and Mt. Hiyori (日和山), River Oyunuma Natural Footbath (大湯沼川足湯), 6 pathways such as Jigokudani Pathway (地獄谷遊歩道), Oyunuma Pathway (大湯沼遊歩道), Oyunuma 2nd Pathway (大湯沼第2遊歩道), Oyunuma Scenic Pathway (大湯沼川探勝歩道), Funamiyama Pathway (船見山遊歩道) and Funamiyama 2nd Pathway (船見山第2遊歩道) have the fall foliage in an autumn. A combination of sulfurous odour and fall foliage can be enjoyed. The best time to see is from mid October to late October. Admission free. A parking lot is chraged. * If visitors pay a parking fee, they can park their cars on Jigokudani Parking Lot (地獄谷の駐車場) and Oyunuma Parking Lot (大湯沼の駐車場). Article is here

Jigokudani
Jigokudani in Noboribetsu

Atmosphere of Jigokudani with Fall Foliage Can Be Watched on Youtube

Moive of Jigokudani with Fall Foliage

List of Lake Kuttara Tourist Attractions

There are the Lake Kuttara Lakeside and the Ogigata Lookout around the Lake Kuttara. My visited places are as follows.

Lake Kuttara Lakeside

Lake Kuttara Lakeside in the southwestern part of the Lake Kuttara move common tourists the closest to the lake. The Ms. Nakao used to live around here, and Rest Station "Route350 Lake Cabin" (レストハウス「ルート350レイクキャビン」), a public restroom and a parking lot are built at present. The lake is calm and tranquil because it is surrounded by somma. When the fishing Kokanee open season, anglers rent a boat at the rest station. But it often does not open the season in recent years. A swan boat is rented, too. By the way, Drive safety because Kappa seems to cross the road. Admission free. The parking lot is free of charge.

Lake Kuttara
Lake Kuttara in Shiraoi
Fishing Boat Floats on Lake
Lake Kuttara in Shiraoi
Rest Station "Route350 Lake Cabin"
Lake Kuttara in Shiraoi
Kappa Seems to Cross
Lake Kuttara in Shiraoi
Autumn Lake Kuttara
Lake Kuttara in Shiraoi
Autumn Lake Kuttara
Lake Kuttara in Shiraoi
Autumn Lake Kuttara
Lake Kuttara in Shiraoi
Autumn Lake Kuttara
Lake Kuttara in Shiraoi

Atmosphere of Lake Kuttara Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Lake Kuttara

Admission fee Free of charge
Parking lot Free parking is provided (20 Cars)
Business hours Open 24 hours
Regular closing day Open all year round
Telephone number -
Home page home page is here
Mapcode 603 260 833*41

Ogigata Lookout

Ogigata Lookout is in the northwestern part of the Lake Kuttara. A lookout is built at about 320 m above sea level, and the lake can be seen from a high place. The lookout and a parking lot are built on the site. The lake can be barely seen through trees, but you might not enjoy yourself because the trees obstruct your view. Admission free. The parking lot is free of charge.

Ogigata Lookout
Lake Kuttara in Shiraoi
Look of Ogigata Lookout
Lake Kuttara in Shiraoi
Lake Kuttara
Lake Kuttara in Shiraoi
Lake Kuttara Can Be Seen A Little
Lake Kuttara in Shiraoi
Parking Lot
Lake Kuttara in Shiraoi
Admission fee Free of charge
Parking lot Free parking is provided (7 Cars)
Business hours Open 24 hours
Regular closing day Open all year round
Telephone number -
Home page Home page is not provided
Mapcode 603 320 691*36

List of Accommodations

Refer to following websites for the accommodations around Lake Kuttara. You can get information regarding online reviews and photos.

Dai-ichi Takimotokan(第一滝本館)
Noboribetsu Grand Hotel(登別グランドホテル)
Hotel Mahoroba(ホテルまほろば)
Noboribetsu Sekisuitei(登別石水亭)
Noboribetsu Manseikaku(登別万世閣)
Hotel Yumoto Noboribetsu(ホテルゆもと登別)
Park Hotel Miyabitei(名湯の宿パークホテル雅亭)
Takimoto Inn(滝本イン)
Noboribetsu Onsen Kyo Takinoya(登別温泉郷 滝乃家)
Booking
Kashoutei Hanaya(花鐘亭はなや)
Oyado Kiyomizuya(御やど 清水屋)
Tamanoyu(玉乃湯)
Booking
Boro Noguchi Noboribetsu(望楼NOGUCHI登別)
Ryotei Hanayura(旅亭 花ゆら)
Booking
Booking.com

A page of Shikotsu-Toya National Park is here

Shikotsu-Toya National Park

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