The next morning, after our breakfast, we made our way back to Jigokudani. We bought our snow spikes from the hotel provision shops and it was one of the best investment for our trip. We slip on the snow spikes onto our shoe and we are able to walk comfortably on the slippery ice path in Jigokudani.
With the spikes, we could make it down to the valley. Along the way, we are seeing people struggling while walking down the valley due slippery ice path.
Jigokudani (地獄谷) or “Hell Valley” is spectacular with displays of hot steam vents and sulfurous streams in the valley. It definitely don’t looks like hell, despite the name “Hell Valley”.
Being confident with our spikes, we continue up the walking trails through the wooded hill.
After a short track, we are on the top of the hill that has a park which overlook Jigokudani Valley.
Before descending from the hill, we had some fun at the park while enjoying the finest snow you can find at Jigokudani Valley.
After the short hike around Jigokudani Valley, we were on the road towards Lake Toya. Though I was advised not to drive across the mountain through Orofure Pass, due to mountainous terrain and heavy snowfall, I decided to continue my journey. I did my risk assessment and ensuring that my speed is kept within 50km/h, constantly making sure that I use my engine brakes to adjust my speed up and down the mountain.
As we get higher up in the mountain, the scenery changed to a journey covered in a thick blanket of white.
We did not regret the journey, as we were rewarded with a spectacular & breathtaking view at the top of the mountain along Orofure Pass.
Jaydon prefer to stay in the car and enjoy the view, as it was pretty cold up in the mountain.
On the descend, we reached Lake Toya. We had our lunch at Sendoan Wakaisaimo which has a nice view of Lake Toya.
Food wise, I guess the picture below would pretty much sums up our experience.
After lunch we head back to our hotel – Toya Sunpalace Hotel. Toya Sunpalace hotel is a kids friendly hotel and all their rooms are facing Lake Toya. Though the rooms are dated and hotel shows sign of aging, it is compensated with facilities and activities.
View from Hotel lobby:
One of the + point of Lake Toya is that there is a indoor wave pool with slides at the side for the children. As we are not allowed to take any pictures, here are some pictures from hotel website.
The family had fun in the wave pool and Jaydon tried the slides after some coaxing. As dinner was served at fixed timing, we have no choice to leave the pool for our dinner which sipulated to be from 18:00 – 19:00. Dinner was buffet style, but it feels like being in a cookhouse filled with tourists. Maybe we are too pampered in Mahoroba Hotel in Noboribetsu.
After dinner, we decided to take turns to enjoy the onsen, while one of us accompany Jaydon in arcade centre in the hotel. Jaydon didn’t want to go for the onsen as I think the games are more appealing to him.
The Onsen is pretty nice. It also includes an outdoor onsen which you have a good view on Hakajima Island which isjust at the middle of Lake Toya. As we are not allowed to take any pictures in the onsen, here are some pictures from hotel website.
That’s end the day for us and tomorrow, we will explore Lake Toya and the surrounding.