Hokkaido – Day 4 (Lake Toyako and the Orofure)

Driving through the snow landscape brought us a fantastic view over Lake Toyako and white Mountains on our fourth day in Hokkaido.

Everyone, who loves snow and the cold, should visit Hokkaido in Winter.
The first stop of the day was Lake Toyako, which is surrounded by mountains. The beauty of the lake in the clear morning sun ist beyond words. Standing there, looking over the lake, I couldn’t help being moved by the pure and beautiful nature. Despite the freezing wind we spend some time just watching the gentle waves washing over the lakeshore and of course we made lots of pictures.

From Lake Toyako we took the Orofure pass, which was the shortest way to our next hotel destination. It had been closed down the day before but thanks to the good weather it was open. Driving over the pass was the best decision we could have made. Not only was the street completely covered with a thick layer of snow, all the trees along the road were covered as well – each single little branch. I had never seen such a beautiful winter wonderland before. Absolutely fantastic. Since there weren’t many drivers on the pass we were able to make a short stop and snap a picture.

A short while after, we came to a sightseeing parking area. The view was really great, even though it was somewhat hindered by the huge masses of snow we had to climb. Later we looked up the place in the internet and saw, that there should have been a huge sign indicating the name of the spot, but it was completely buried under the snow. Here we – or to be more specific, I – had the first little snow accident. Since we weren’t able to see where the path was, we had climbed over the snow masses to get to the viewing area. I though I had taken the same way back, when I suddenly broke through an upper layer of ice and were stuck up to my bottom in Snow. Wearing tights and a skirt, this was not only a somewhat painful but also incredibly cold experience. Thanks to my husband and father-in-law I made it out without further problems and we continued our trip slightly wetter than before.

After we left the Orofure pass behind we came to Noboribetsu, where we were greeted by two demons, inhabitants of the hell valley.
Hell valley, similar to the hell tour in Beppu, is a cluster of hot springs, though the ones in Noboribetsu are much larger. Unfortunately most of the way has a walk/hike through mountainous area, where my mother-in-law couldn’t go with her wheelchair. Usually you can get there also by car, but since the roads were closed it wasn’t an option. So we only saw the first part, but it was nevertheless an interesting view.

10 thoughts on “Hokkaido – Day 4 (Lake Toyako and the Orofure)

  1. Stunning pictures! If you don’t mind me asking, when did you travel and was it difficult driving along the Orofure Pass in snowy conditions? How long did the journey take from Lake Toyako to Noboribetsu?

    Thanks very much in advance!


    • We travelled in early February. It wasn’t that difficult to drive with appropriate tires, though you can only see snow, so you might want to stay in the middle of the road if possible (there wasn’t a lot of traffic). The pass is closed if it is not usable.
      We stopped overnight in Muroran, but if you go straight to Noboribetsu I think you might need about two hours on non-maut streets. If you use the highway it will be probably around 45 minutes.


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