Follow the coastal road or rail line around Uchiura-wan from Hakodate and you’ll reach the eastern side of the SHIKOTSU-TŌYA NATIONAL PARK (支笏洞爺国立公園), one of Hokkaidō’s prettiest lakeland and mountain areas, but also the most developed, thanks to its proximity to Sapporo, some 80km to the north. Both the park’s two main caldera lakes – Tōya-ko to the east and Shikotsu-ko to the west – have gorgeous locations, are active volcanoes and are surrounded by excellent hiking trails. Between the two lakes lies Noboribetsu Onsen, Hokkaidō’s largest hot-spring resort, worth visiting to soak up the otherworldly landscape of bubbling and steaming Jigokudani (Hell Valley).

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