Lakes & Wetlands
Creep through hidden paths and tree-lined trails to where secret alpine ponds and boardwalk-accessible wetlands lie.
Teeming with vitality, life and gorgeous marshland flora, Hokkaido's local lakes, marshes and wetlands are a reminder of what Nature truly looks like.
Lake Toya is one of the most recognisable lakes in Hokkaido, and its expanse sits inside one of the most volcanically active areas in southwestern Hokkaido. The live volcano, Mt. Usu, sits beside Lake Toya, and repeatedly erupts every 30 to 50 years, the white smoke rising above it a reminder of its temperamental state.
Thanks to its status as a geothermal hot spot, Lake Toya has a stunning natural onsen lining the lake's edge, and in the middle of the lake lie the islands of Nakajima, which are worth a visit on one of the popular sightseeing boat tours.
Named "Half-moon Lake" for its distinctive shape, Hangetsu ko lies quietly at the base of Mount Yotei, and is a popular destination both for snowshoeing during the winter, and for leisurely hikes in the summer and autumn months.
Much like a volcano's crater, it is nestled beneath the surrounding land, allowing hikes all the way around the ridge before descending to its shore. Although frozen during the winter, the spring melt eventually reveals the beautiful reflections the lake is famous for—and is worth the wait.
Kagami Numa can be found upon the northeast side of Mt. Annupuri, and rests within the Niseko wetlands—which in the green season are host to a variety of plant and insect life, and are conveniently accessible for those based in the Hirafu and Niseko areas.
The “Mirror Lake” is popularly frequented on still, windless days, and is known for holding clear, pristine reflections of the surrounding landscape and sky upon its calm, specular surface.
Populated by a jumbled cornucopia of wildflowers, winding boardwalk-covered marshlands and silent ponds, Shinsen Numa was once declared "a place where Gods and mountain spirits reside".
It is hard to deny the unadulterated beauty once you look upon it: During the summer months, the greenery, and diverse insect and bird life attract nature enthusiasts from all over Japan; then in autumn the surroundings are lit ablaze by colour; flooding your vision with shades of burnt umber, burnished golds, and scorching yellows.
If you would like to find out more about AYA Niseko's local lakes, marshes and wetlands, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the AYA team.