- September 14th, 2017
[Mt. Usu around Lake Toya] Active Volcano Is Easy to Be Gone up by Ropeway
Mt. Usu (有珠山) is an active volcano with 733 m in height between Date city, Toyako town and Sobetsu town in the south side of Lake Toya (洞爺湖), and has been double volcano with Ousu Lava Dome (大有珠), Kousu Lava Dome (小有珠), Mt. Ogari (オガリ山) and Mt. Usushinzan (有珠新山) since 20,000 years ago, and erupted 4 times within 100 years ago, so it is one of very active volcanos in the world, too. In Shikotsu-Toya National Park, Geographical features with the Lake Toya and Mt. Showa-shinzan have been authorized in the World Geopark. It can be said that the Mt. Usu is one of main actors in Toya Caldera and Usu Volcano Global Geopark (洞爺湖有珠山ジオパーク). A ropeway is the most popular way to go up the mountain, but visitors can hike it, too. Admission free. A parking lot is charged for JPY 500. But It is free of charge form December to March.
Mt. Usu Hiking Guide Map in Japanese
Lake Toya (洞爺湖) between Toyako town and Sobetsu town located in the northwestern part of Muroran city is the 3rd largest caldera lake in Japan after Lake Kussharo and Lake Shikotsu, and was born by large-scale eruptions 110,000 years ago. In Shikotsu-Toya National Park, the perimeter of the lake is about 43 km, and 58 sculptures are located around the lake, and those create scenes in accord with the lake. Geographical features of mountains and the lake have been authorized in the World Geopark. The lake is one of major tourist attractoions in Hokkaido, and a lot of international tourists come. Windsor Hotels Toya Resort & Spa that 34th G8 Summit (Hokkaido Toyako Summit) was held at is famous, too. Around the Lake Toya, there are Toyako Onsen Resort (洞爺湖温泉) that is a sightseeing base, Toya Silo Observation Deck (サイロ展望台), Ukimido Park (浮見堂公園), Toya Onsen (洞爺温泉), Nakatoya Onsen (仲洞爺温泉), Nakatoya Camping Ground (仲洞爺キャンプ場), Green Stay Toyako (グリーンステイ洞爺湖), Takarada Camping Ground (水辺の里財田キャンプ場), Sobetsu-cho Onsen (壮瞥町温泉), Mt. Showa-shinzan (昭和新山) and Mt. Usu (有珠山). Read More
Tourist facilities such as Showa-shinzan Bear Ranch (クマ牧場), Showa-shinzan Glass Museum (ガラス館), Masao Mimatsu Memorial Hall (三松正夫記念館) and souvenir shops are built near a ropeway station, and the visitors can rise their tourist mood. In addition, Mt. Showa-shinzan (昭和新山) is nearby the ropeway station.
Mt. Showa-shinzan (昭和新山) is a volcanic lava dome with about 400 m in height in Sobetsu town located in the south of the Lake Toya. The new volcanic lava dome has raised or erupted since 1944. In Shikotsu-Toya National Park, Geographical features with the Lake Toya and Mt. Usu have been authorized in the World Geopark. It can be said that the Mt. Usu is one of main actors in Toya Caldera and Usu Volcano Global Geopark (洞爺湖有珠山ジオパーク). It is nearby the Mt. Usu. Tourist facilities such as Showa-shinzan Bear Ranch (クマ牧場), Showa-shinzan Glass Museum (ガラス館), Masao Mimatsu Memorial Hall (三松正夫記念館) and souvenir shops are built near a ropeway station, and the visitors can rise their tourist mood. Admission free. A parking lot is charged for JPY 500. But It is free of charge form December to March. Read More
Shikotsu-Toya National Park
Shikotsu-Toya National Park (支笏洞爺国立公園) has Lake Shikotsu (支笏湖), the 2nd largest caldera lake in Japan, and Lake Toya (洞爺湖), the 3rd largest caldera lake in the Japan, in the southwestern part of Hokkaido. In the national park, there are unique mountains such as Mt. Usu (有珠山), Mt. Tarumae (樽前山) and Mt. Showa-shinzan (昭和新山), and here is a tourist attraction on behalf of Hokkaido containing Noboribetsu Onsen (登別温泉) and Jozankei Onsen (定山渓温泉) in the 3 major onsen in the Hokkaido. Because it is easy to access the tourist attracions from New Chitose Airport and Sapporo city, the Shikotsu-Toya National Park gets popularity from tourists. The Shikotsu-Toya National Park is roughly divided into 5 areas, Yoteizan Area, Toyako Area, Noboribetsu Area, Shikotsuko Area and Jozankei Area. The area is 99,473 ha in total, it is very vast. It blows my mind why it adds the Yoteizan Area and the Jozankei Area, but I googled it, but I could not find. Read More
Mt. Usu Trip
Tourists can go up to around the summit by the ropeway carried by Wakasa Resort, a subsidiary company of Wakasaimo Honpo (わかさいも本舗). It takes about 6 minutes. A round ticket is JPY 1500 for adult and JPY 750 for child. HIS issues a coupon ticket, and the Wakasa Resort make a discount of 10% off the fare if the visitors bring printed the coupon ticket. The Mt. Showa-shinzan and the Lake Toya can be seen from the ropeway.
There are Toyako Viewing Platform (洞爺湖展望台) and Usuzan-Kakogen Viewing Platoform (有珠山火口原展望台) around Usu-sancho Station (有珠山頂駅), the Mt. Usu, the Lake Toya, the Mt. Showa-shinzan and Pacific Ocean can be looked over. The Toyako Viewing Platform and the Usuzan-Kakogen Viewing Platoform are easy to reach on foot relatively. At the Usu-sancho Station, there are a souvenir shop and a movie corner about the Mt. Usu.
It takes about 3 minutes from the Usu-sancho Station to the Toyako Viewing Platform on foot. Although it is very close to the Usu-sancho Station, amazing views of the Lake Toya and the Mt. Showa-shinzan can be enjoyed. A observation deck and some benches and tables are provided on the site. By the way, A sea of clouds might be seen from May to July in the morning.
The very impressive Mt. Usu and a crater basin can be seen from the Usuzan-Kakogen Viewing Platoform. It takes about 10 minutes from the Usu-sancho Station to here on foot. You may be tired because of a difference of elevation. But you can realize here is the volcano when you see steam. The square lookout is surrounded by fences, and does not has a facility. The Pacific Ocean and Date city can be seen from here. The view is very good unexpectedly. In addition, Osarugawa Bridge (長流川橋) with 1772.50 m in total length, the longest highway bridge in Japan, can be seen, too.
Usuzan-Gairinzan Boardwalk (有珠山外輪山遊歩道) is built around the outer rim of the crater, and is easy to walk relatively, but a stairway has difference of elevation, so you must get tired. There are Kakogen Lookout (火口原展望台) and Minami-gairinzan Lookout (南外輪山展望台) along the boardwalk. Green carpet from the Usuzan-Kakogen Viewing Platoform is the boardwalk and the Kakogen Lookout. It takes about 60 minutes from the Usu-sancho Station to the Minami-gairinzan Lookout on foot. I think hikers had better bring water and an insect repellent. In addition, Beware of bears.
A restroom, a gazebo and benches are provided on the Kakogen Lookout. Here can be viewed from the front than the Usuzan Kakogen Lookout relatively.
The Minami-gairinzan Lookout has Usu Zenkoji Okunoin Branch Temple (有珠善光寺奥の院) and benches. The Mt. Usu with another outer rim can be viewed from the front, and the pacific ocean can be viewed from the front, too. The Lake Toya and Mt. Yotei (羊蹄山) can be seen. I think that here is the best view. It is worth hiking to here. I had a sandwich while seeing the Pacific Ocean and the Lake Toya.
Atmosphere of Mt. Usu Can Be Watched on Youtube
|Admission fee||Admission free|
|Parking lot||Pay parking lot is provided (400 Cars), Capacity for midsize vehicles: JPY 410.|
|Business hours||08:15-18:45 * It changes depending on seasons|
|Regular closing day||Open all year round|
|Home page||Home page is here|
List of Accommodations
Refer to following websites for the accommodations around the Mt. Usu. You can get information regarding online reviews and photos.
A page of Lake Toya
A page of Shikotsu-Toya National Park is here
Shikotsu-Toya National Park
By the way, Club Tourism (クラブツーリズム), a Japanese tour travel agency, provides various types of tours such as day trip tours or ordinary tours. In the case of bus tours, tourists do not drive their cars themselves, so they can savor alcohol. Choosen tourist attractions are national parks such as Rishiri and Rebun, Shiretoko, and popular tourist places such as Furano and Biei, and some activities such as hiking and fruit picking are also enjoyed depending on seasons. If you are interested in tour trips, you should visit the club tourism's website for details.
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