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Toyako Onsen Spa is Lake Toya's main town and tourist base on the southern shore. It is a cluster of hotels and ryokans offering hot spring waters.
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Toyako Onsen bus stop. "Toyako" means Lake Toya, and "Onsen" means hot spring. Lake Toya is within the municipalities of Toyako-cho town and Sobetsu-cho town (east shore).
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Signs in English near the bus stop.
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Going toward the lake. On the right is where you can rent a bicycle for 1000 to 1500 yen. On the left is the tourist office.
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Toyako Onsen Spa tourist information office with a G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit welcome sign. Near the bus terminal and center of town.
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Lake Toya in early May
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Toyako Onsen has a nice lakefront promenade for pedestrians. Cars no longer travel here so it's pleasant for a stroll.
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Lake Toya is decorated with almost 60 outdoor sculptures along the shore all around the lake. This is the first one you will likely see. By Tando Saka. 坂 担道「湖渡る風」
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Ezo deer sculpture and the Nakajima islands in the lake. The sculptures are called Toyako Gurutto Chokoku Koen (Lake Toya Circular Sculpture Park). The sculpture project started in 1984.
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Lake Toya is a caldera lake, or crater lake. The mountain blew its top forming a huge crater. Later, volcanos erupted at the center to form smaller mountains which are now islands in the water-filled crater.
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The Nakajima islands in the center of Lake Toya. There are four islands. Most them have a conical shape.
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On this side of the lake, the waters are quite still.
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Nakajima islands as seen from Toyako Onsen.
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Photos of my visit to the Nakajima islands here.
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Toyako Onsen lakefront. There are a few cruise boat docks, motor boat docks, and swan pedal boats.
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The Ekimae Sanbashi Pier, almost front and center along Toyako Onsen's lake shore, has cruise boats leaving for lake cruises to the Nakajima islands every 30 min. from 8 am to 4:30 pm during April-Oct.
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This cruise boat, called Espoir, looks like a medieval European castle. It's a double-hulled boat. The lake cruise fare is 1,320 yen for adults and 660 yen for kids. (Slightly more expensive during Nov.-April.)
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During Nov.-April, it operates every hour from 9 am to 4 pm. The cruise takes 50 min. if you don't get off to visit the Nakajima islands. Otherwise, allow 80 min. if you want to get also step foot on the Nakajima islands.
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The lake cruise boat heads back to shore as the Windsor Hotel (G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit venue) can be seen on the hill above. More boat cruise photos here.
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Hot spring foot bath on the lakefront promenade. It's called "Toron no Yu." 足湯
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Hot spring foot bath is also popular with visitors.
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Hot spring foot bath
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Hot spring foot bath, great especially after taking a long walk.
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Lake Toya sign and the Nakajima islands.
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Lakefront promenade
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The lakefront promenade goes for a good distance, passing in front of numerous hotels.
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Sculpture: Onna (Woman) by Chizuko Sasado. 笹戸 千津子「女」
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Onna (Woman) by Chizuko Sasado. 笹戸 千津子「女」
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Sculpture: Traveling Person, by Yoshiro Mineta 峯田 義郎「旅ひとり」
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Sculpture: Traveling Person, by Yoshiro Mineta 峯田 義郎「旅ひとり」
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Swan boat and a real swan.
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Swan boats. You can pedal pretty far out in these things, but not to the Nakajima islands.
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On the shore of Lake Toya is binoculars through which you can see the Summit venue, the Windsor Hotel.
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Windsor Hotel and lake cruise boat.
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Sculpture: Anthem of the Sun, by Machiko Kodera 小寺 真知子「太陽の賛歌」
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Sculpture: Anthem of the Sun, by Machiko Kodera 小寺 真知子「太陽の賛歌」
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Sculpture: Anthem of the Sun, by Machiko Kodera. Lake Toya has many nude woman sculptures.
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Lake Toya and cherry blossoms blooming in early May.
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Nakajima islands, Lake Toya
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Swan boats again.
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Sculpture: by Keiko Amamiya, 雨宮 敬子「洞照」
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Sculpture: by Keiko Amamiya, 雨宮 敬子「洞照」. One problem with the outdoor sculptures, especially human figures, are the birds. Their droppings create unsightly white streaks down the body.
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Sculpture: At the Lake, by Akihiko Kurokawa 黒川 晃彦「湖畔にて」
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Sculpture: At the Lake, by Akihiko Kurokawa. Perhaps the most humorous sculpture.
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G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit welcome sign on the edge of Toyako Onsen hot spring.
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Nakajima islands, Lake Toya
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Cherry blossoms and the Nakajima islands, Lake Toya. Early May 2008.
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Cherry blossoms (almost in full bloom) and the Nakajima islands, Lake Toya. More photos of cherry blossoms and Lake Toya here in eastern Toyako.
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Toyako Visitor Center and Volcano Science Museum (smaller building on left). 洞爺湖ビジターセンター
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Entrance to Toyako Visitor Center (free admission, but admission charged for the Volcano Science Museum).
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G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit countdown at Toyako Visitors Center and Volcano Science Museum in Toyako Onsen Spa.
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Toyako Visitor Center and Volcano Science Museum in Toyako Onsen Spa with G8 Summit welcome sign.
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The Toyako Visitor Center is spacious with a giant aerial photo of Lake Toya and various exhibits introducing the lake which is within the Shikotsu-Toya National Park.
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Giant aerial photo of Lake Toya.
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Toyako Visitor Center
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Volcanic rock which you can touch. Toyako Visitor Center
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How Lake Toya was formed.
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Fishes in Lake Toya
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Birds around Toyako
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The Toyako Visitor Center also has the Volcano Science Museum (admission 600 yen). A room (seen on left) simulating the 1977 Mt. Usu eruption with a video and vibrating sound is a must-see.
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Wrecked car on display. The main attraction is the Mt. Usu Volcanic Eruption Theater which shows an engrossing film about Usuzan's eruptions. 火山科学館
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On the west end of Toyako Onsen are more sculptures and a park. Sculpture by Kan Yasuda. 安田 侃「意心帰」
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Lakefront promenade on the west end of Toyako Onsen Spa.
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Mt. Usu Eruption Memorial Park on the west end of Toyako Onsen has more outdoor sculptures. 有珠山噴火記念公園
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Sculpture: Muse, by Nobuyuki Akechi. 明地 信之「Muse」
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Sculpture: Light of the Moon, by Igor Mitoraj. イゴール・ミトライ「月の光」
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Sculpture: SHOWEN, by Noriyoshi Matsumoto. 松本 憲宣「SHOWEN」
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Windsor Hotel, G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit venue. It would've been great if it were shaped a like a mountain-top castle.
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A short bus ride from Toyako Onsen is the Nishiyama crater trail. Highly recommended. A series of craters can be seen up close. More photos here.
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The new Toyako Onsen Bus Terminal
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Toyako Culture Center with G8 Summit flags
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Official logo of the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit on the Toyako Culture Center.
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Toya manhole showing the Ukimido temple and Nakajima islands. Hokkaido
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