Saturday 17 February 2018

Hokkaido Pt 4: Staying In Toyako Onsen

This photo was taken at Toyako Gurutto Chokuku Park which is located behind my hotel in the small hot spring town of Toyako Onsen.

Toyako Onsen is made up of just a few streets and it is a place where the pace of life seems to slow down. Quiet and tranquil with a few cars  passing by occasionally and the steam that spouts out of hot spring holes are the charm of this rustic town. It is called a hot spring town as there are many geothermal spots and natural hot spring sources. Most of the hotels at the peripheral of Lake Toya have their own natural hotsprings and these have become attractions offered by the hotels to their patrons.

We stayed in Toyako Manseikaku Hotel on the southern shores of Lake Toya. It is a fairly large hotel, not luxurious but just pleasant for a night's stay.

The reception of guests is unique in that we were offered eggs boiled in hot spring water and a small bowl of plain savoury soup.

Not every receptionist at the hotel speaks English but if you have any inquiry there will be someone to help you out.

We stayed in a Japanese Style Room just for the experience of it. It is lined with tatami, a type of mat used as flooring material in traditional Japanese rooms. There are no beds, just a Japanese table and a normal coffee table with two chairs.

The room is small but the passageway into the room provides space for our luggage. There is a TV, a mini-bar, an electric kettle and and tea-making facilities. Also provided in the room are sandals and kimonos which you can wear to the hot spring bath or to the hotel restaurants. Even though the hot spring bath is an attraction, patrons have to go in naked together with other users. I chickened out because of this. 

Tap water is the only source of drinking water available in the room. Anyway this is said to be safe for drinking so we just have to trust Japan!

The washroom/toilet is tiny but the toilet bowl is heated so that's a consolation. Bath gel, shampoo and a hair dryer are provided.

At around 7pm two staffs came in to put out the mattresses. The Japanese table had to be pushed to one side to create space as the room is really small.

The best thing that came with my room is the astounding view of the lake and Nakajima Island which lies in the centre of the lake. Lake Toya is Japan's northermost lake which is not frozen despite the fact that the temperature has dropped below freezing point. It is also the second most transparent lake in Japan so you can imagine how beautiful it is.

My room comes with a balcony but I rarely spent time here as the weather was freezing cold. 

Our room came with breakfast and buffet dinner. I like the tray with many compartment provided and here's what I had for breakfast.

Buffet dinner is very elaborate with a good range of Japanese delights to choose from.

There is a shop within the hotel premise and since the hotel is located in the town itself, other shops and restaurants are just a stone's throw away.

There is also a 7 Eleven adjacent to the hotel.

This is the posterior view of the hotel which fronts Lake Toya.

Behind the hotel lies Toyako Gurutto Chokuku Park. It is covered with snow and walking along the edge a short distance away is the pier.

There are interesting statues erected at sporadic locations within the park.

My favourite is a statue of a man blowing a trumpet with a bird perched on his head. I came to say 'Hello' and Goodbye to my trumpeter friend before I checked out of the hotel.

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