© Ronald Tan

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

12th May 2009 – Breakfast at hotel and then proceed to check-out as today we will be leaving to Lake Toya. We need to check-out by 10am but as our free transport to Lake Toya is scheduled at 1.30pm, we left our luggage at the good care of the hotel before strolling around. The good thing is that the storage area is behind the front desk counter, which means that any possibility of losing thing is greatly minimize. Then we went to Pole Town to have our caffeine fix at Starbucks¥860 Café Mocha x 2.

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

Ham & Cheese Bun.

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

Custard Cream Bun. Both total up to ¥225.

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

At most JR or Subway station, there are actually various sizes of lockers for you to store your stuffs temporary. The small size locker is priced at ¥300 for 12hour storage. Valuables are not encouraged to be left in lockers.

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

After lazing in Starbucks watching people go by for 2 hours, it’s time to head back to hotel to claim our luggage. A coupon was issued when we left our luggage and this have to be hand over to the hotel staff. Instead of taking subway, we decided that we had some spare time to walk to Sapporo while lugging our baggage along.

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

Took a rest at Odori Park. 😛

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

Reach our destination JR Sapporo Station after 20 mins walk. An accomplishment!

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

The meeting point for the free bus transport to Lake Toya – Esta Shopping Mall (a prominent building outside of JR Sapporo). We have to carry our luggage up the stairs. 🙁

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

At the top of the stairs, the building is JR Sapporo.

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

Some other malls/buildings facing JR Sapporo. It’s a gloomy day and seems like going to rain anytime. Glad that we have reached the meeting point prior to any downpour as we will be drenched as we do not have any raincoats or umbrellas with us.

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

2nd floor of Esta (also our meeting place). “BIC Camera” store for you to shop while waiting for transport.

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

I also noticed that there is a Sightseeing Bus Counter which provides “Sapporo One-Day Tour” at ¥5700, “Otaru Night View Tour” at ¥5800, “Lilac Tour” at ¥4100, etc. For the more adventurous, there is also “Susukino Transsexual Stage Show Tour” at ¥9900. Please do share with me on your experience if you do go. 😛

Information shown are Tour, Departure Time, Arrival Time, Fare and Operation Period – English, Chinese, Japanese and Korean language are available.

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

My favourite drink – Calpis Water ¥150. Smooth, refreshing and creamy taste with slight hint of milk, somehow like Yakult. There is also a carbonated version – Calpis Soda, which is exceptionally good thirst quencher during a hot afternoon.

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

Folks queuing to show hotel reservation confirmation and will be arranged a seat number.

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

Apparently, this makeshift counter provides free bus transport services to various accommodation (if you have reserved with them) under Noguchi Kanko Group. From left to right, Kohan Tei (Lake Toya), Gokiraku Tei (Lake Toya), Daini Meisui Tei (Kitayuzawa), Meisui Tei (Kitayuzawa) and Horohoro Sanso (Kitayuzawa). Our destination is Kohan Tei!

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

From the bus window, I took a snap of the scenery. The weather is not looking good.

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

Simply love the feeling of natural surrounding. Especially when there aren’t any tall modern buildings in sight.

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

A stop point for folks to answer the call of nature or just to buy some food. A slight drizzle have already started. This area is foggy and cold. I wonder whether we are at the highlands?

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

It’s so foggy that visibility is reduced. But I love the feeling! It’s like I am in the clouds. 🙂

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

Continuing our journey on the bus. It’s May but along the way, I still noticed some patches of snow.

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

After 2hr 30mins ride on the free shuttle bus, reached Kohan Tei. The view of the room standing at the door entrance.

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

Walkway to entrance door. The room is a combination of western and traditional setup – you can either sleep on the western bed or futon.

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

The tatami floored traditional room – comes with table, chair with zabuton and a separate armrest. No shoes on the tatami, please. Yes, the room is facing the lake!

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

Exploring the wardrobe – found our yukata and toiletries. Storage space available under the wardrobe.

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

The closet containing our futons.

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

Sneak preview of the magnificent view from our room window.

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

Toilet. Always small in Japan.

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

A garden (taken from room window).

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

Still drizzling but we still venture out!

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

A foot bath at the ground floor.

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

More fog building up. Weather is cold!

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

The right building is Kohan Tei.

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

The rain keeps getting bigger. I was hoping the free fireworks display will not be canceled due to bad weather.

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

Some shop facing the entrance of Kohan Tei. We wanted to take the Usuzan Ropeway Car but the weather forbids us to stray away far from hotel. The Usuzan Ropeway Car ride will take you to the top of Mount Usu, where you can enjoy the panoramic view of Lake Toya. For your information, Mount Usu is an active volcano!

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

Toyako Manseikaku (Beside Kohan Tei).

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

More shops. We also halted our plans to take the Pleasure Boat, which takes you round the lake and the neighboring four islands that make up Nakajima Island. Our main intention is view the firework display from the boat trip.

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

The sky is turning dark. We decided to have dinner earlier as we couldn’t go anywhere else.

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

Japanese dinner is served in-room. This dinner set is part of the room package.

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

The food is very well presented. 🙂

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

Dessert. It’s not ice cream but more like jelly and have a milky taste.

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

Yeah!!! Fireworks display still proceeded despite the drizzle. The 20mins fireworks display happens every night at 8.45pm during the period from 28th April to 31st Oct and is subjected to weather conditions as the fireworks are launched from a moving boat.

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

I went downstairs to try capturing more photos.

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

My camera doesn’t seem to be able to capture good shots of the firework so I went back to room to enjoy the rest of the fireworks from the room window. After viewing the fireworks display, I went to Onsen. Didn’t take any photo during then but it was a nice bath with fabulous view. For more information, please visit here.

A Day in Sapporo & Lake Toya

Some snacks follows – Calbee Potato Chips ¥158 and Sapporo Classic (only sold in Hokkaido) ¥278. The 2 green cards are our breakfast coupons (part of the hotel package as well). Was quite disappointed that the rain have caused us to miss some attractions at Lake Toya but nevertheless still enjoyable. Went to sleep in anticipation of fine weather for next day!

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  • Sabelle

    Hi Ronald, I am from Singapore too. I love your blog very much. I am planning a trip end of this year, would love to stay in Kohan Tei as well. However I do nt know where to book this hotel. May I know where did you book the room and which room type and how much is it? Appreciate your help. Thanks much!

  • Hi Sabelle, thanks and glad that you love it!

    I made my reservation for Kohan Tei through http://www.toya-kohantei.com/fl/english/index.html. Send you query through “Contact Us” and you will get a response in English. During my trip, I went for the below room.

    Lake View with Meal in the Room:
    per person:12,750 Yen
    room type:japanese style
    breakfast:buffet in the restaurant
    dinner:meal in the room

    Payment is directly at hotel. There is also free shuttle bus from Sapporo to Kohan Tei as well as the return from Kohan Tei to Sapporo (if required).

    I remembered that they swap the onsen for male and female everyday so if you are staying longer, you can experienced both! 🙂

  • Sabellelee

    Hi Ronald, thanks much for your fast response! I will most probably follow your itinerary and instruction..that makes my planning much more easier!

  • Hi Sabelle, enjoy your trip! Any further questions, you may contact me again. 🙂

  • Dorcaschoo

    Hi, Ronald. I really enjoyed reading your blog on Otaru. This June, my family and i will also want to have a day trip there like you did. Did you go to all the places at Otaru by foot or take public transport?

    • Hi Dorcas, glad that you enjoyed reading my write-up on Otaru.

      I travelled from Sapporo to Otaru using the Sapporo-Otaru Welcome Pass and alighted at Minami Otaru Station instead of the popular Otaru Station. Then from there on, I just explored around by foot towards the direction of Otaru Station via Otaru-Unga Canal. My opinion is that the distance is not very long and if you find it so, you can take breaks in-between for food, ice cream, beer, coffee, sightseeing, etc. As Otaru is a small town, I personally believe that it’s best explored by foot and you might want to have a map (http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/map/024_Otaru.html) ready for easy reference. Hope this helps!

  • ruby

    Hi Ronald, Thank you so much for sharing your photos and travel details with us. At first I was afraid to do “free and easy” but your blog has given me confidence.Crossed my fingers that all will go well for my October 2013 Hokkaido trip.:)