This freshwater caldera lake forming an long eyebrow-like shape belong in the Shikotsu Toya National Park and is 40 km in circumference. "Shikotsu" in Ainu means "a large basin." The Chitose River gets its water from this lake, which was known in this name in the past. The lake was originally round, but a volcanic eruption has led to its current shape.
Photo by yshima96
It has a wide area which is one of the largest in Japan. It's maximum depth is at 300 meters, three times deeper than Lake Biwa and is ranked second next to Lake Tazawa in Akita. Its transparency world class and is renowned as one of the clearest in Japan. The warm water at the bottom affects the lake's freeing point and is also renowned for being the unfreezing lake in the northernmost of Japan. Furthermore, the entire surface of the lake has only frozen once in recent years for decades.
Photo by Hiroyuki Takeda
This area is one of the nature parks which receives a lot of visitors. You will be able to indulge in the cone-shaped Mt. Yotei often dubbed as "Ezo Fuji" as well as the hot springs, moss caves and the products and phenomena from the volcano. The view of nature while strolling across the banks or through the forest is extraordinary. There are equipments ready for leisure activities such as boating or canoeing, camping and scuba diving.
As one of the best travel destinations, hot springs are found in the hot spring district located in the eastern coast of the lake. while inns are found in the north west. It's gourmet is the lake's famous product, the freshwater Himemasu. It's exciting to note how each place has developed various dishes and products from this fish, sometimes called "chip."
Several events and nature tours are conducted as seasons pass. Information centers like the Lake Shikotsuko Visitor Center, Lake Shikotsuko Sightseeing Center and others are there for everyone's use, which is good for choosing the time to go sightseeing.
It's near the New Chitose Airport and the nearest station to the railroad is JR Chitose Station and Tomakomai Station. It's also a stone's throw from the nearest station in Hokkaido's capital, Sapporo, which takes an hour and a half via bus.
In addition, there is a Lake Shikotsuko Park bike trail of about 20 km in the Morappu Camping site in the Chitose towns and lake shore. As there are stops in parks and historical ruins which you can return for several occasions, you will surely have fun cycling on a nice season while following the trail inside the beautiful nature.
Photo by Hiroyuki Takeda
Address: Chitose, Hokkaido