Ever since we did our research on Lake Toya a few months before this trip, we’ve been hoping that we could ride bicycles around the lake. Yesterday, when we passed Toyako Onsen village by bus and saw the bicycle path on the side of the lake, we all agreed to go cycling the next day.
So, right after the soba lunch, we went to the bike rental store at Toyako Onsen Village. The owner of the rental shop was a very friendly old man. He had a few bright red Bridgestone bikes that were very comfortable to ride. Noushka, Ditha and I each got one. We thought of stealing them away, because they were so pretty and so comfortable to ride.
Aina and Ari didn’t get the red bikes, though. Ari got a silver bike, a bit older than our shiny Bridgestone. Aina, who was out of practice lately, got a size bigger than her usual bike at home (although at her age, this is actually the right size… the bike at home was actually too small for her). She was pretty nervous and wasn’t sure if she could ride her bike. So the beginning of our cycling tour went very slow, getting Aina comfortable with her bike.
The view around Lake Toya was to die for. We were lucky that today the sky was so blue. It was such a perfect weather to be doing things outdoors.
We were not only surrounded by this beautiful view of nature, but there were also many art pieces and sculptures along the path, on the side of the lake. It was just amazing. At the entrance to the cycling path, there was actually a large board with a list of all the sculptures, the artist’s names and their location around the Lake. There were over 50 art pieces around the lake…
The cycling path of Lake Toya on Toyako Onsen is not very long but I guess it’s long enough for an 8 year old to go back and forth. It started at the edge of Usuzanfunka Memorial Park, on the west side of Toyako Onsen Village, and ended a few hundred meters away from Kawanami. Since it wasn’t too long, when we reached the end, we just turned around and headed the other way.
Actually, we could have kept going through the Usuzanfunka Park. There was another gravel path, much more narrow than the current one. But we weren’t sure how far it went and if Aina was up to cycling on gravel and if she could go that far. So we just stayed around Toyako Onsen.
We also stopped by a large playground. it had several jungle gyms, swings and a fountain. Aina didn’t want to leave. And there were many international tourists hanging out at this playground, too.
After 2 hours of riding around, our bike renting time was up and we had to return the bikes. By the time we finished riding, Aina had gotten used to the bike that she was able to ride on gravels and narrow paths.
When we were riding the bike along the lakeside, we noticed there were people on the swan boats pedalling around in the water. Aina immediately wanted to ride the swan. So, after we returned the bikes, we rented a large swan. There were two swan sizes… The small one fits 2-3 people, the large one had a backseat, so it can fit 4-5 people… Perfect for us!
Each slot was 15 minutes. We thought, “What? Only 15 minutes?”
Oh how we were wrong… It turned out, pedalling on the water was much harder than on land. Along with the windy lake situation, my thighs were burning! By the 15th minute, we were all ready to be walking on land again… Actually, we were ready to take a shower and laze our butt back at the hotel. We took a taxi from Toyako Onsen Bus Terminal to Kawanami.
When we got back, we immediately went for the onsen. After all the leg workouts this morning and afternoon (hiking, bicycling and pedalling the swan), relaxing in the onsen sounded so prefect. This time, we were going to try the public onsen. After our training in the private onsen yesterday, we thought we were ready for the public one. And Ari told us that there were around 4-5 pools in the public onsen, including the outdoor pool. yay, outdoor!
Unlike the private onsen, we were not allowed to bring a camera and take pictures in the onsen, for obvious reasons. So, no pictures on this… sorry.
Since this was a public onsen, there were lockers outside. So we put in our sandals in the locker. Then left our stuff on the basket in the onsen’s changing area. The women’s onsen had 4 pools. Three were indoors, which consisted of two hot pools and one cool one. And then, there was a very pretty outdoor pool… Unfortunately, the outdoor pool seemed to be not in service. When we went in, the water was cool and there was no water coming out of the water source spout. We got cold and went back indoors for the warmer pools. We were quite disappointed, because we’ve all been wanting to try the outdoor onsen… Just like in the movies and comics, y’know.
Aina had an open wound on her knee from cycling today, and it hurt when she went into the hot pool. So today, she didn’t enter the pool, and just hung out outside of the pool, pouring the onsen water on herself. Honestly though, I don’t think she could go in anyway. The temperature of the pools in this public onsen was hotter than the private onsen yesterday. Even Ditha and Noushka couldn’t stay long in the pool… It was too hot for them.
While we were in the onsen, the lady owner of Kawanami came in to bathe as well. She reminded us to watch the daily fireworks show. Every night at 8pm there was a fireworks show at Lake Toya facing the Toyako Onsen Village… Yes, every night. Fireworks.
Yesterday, we tried to see it from our windows, we could only hear the sound and saw tiny bits of it hidden behind the trees. Kawanami is not located at Toyako Onsen, but if we walked up to the pier right in front of the hotel, we could catch the side view of the daily fireworks show. Since by 8pm we were all bathed and dined, we decided to go out in our yukata to watch the fireworks. It was quite chilly and windy up on the pier, but the onsen helped warmed us up. And the wool yukata was super warm!
On the way back from the pier, we passed by the table tennis room. Actually, we always walk by this room on our way to and from our room from the front desk. But this time, no one was around and Aina was curious on how to play table tennis. It all started out with Noushka teaching Aina about the pingpong game. Ditha, who had never touched a pingpong bat in her life, got curious too and tried it out with me, occupying the other table. It turned out that she’s a natural… Soon, everyone was going crazy over pingpong. And surprised that we had been playing (and screaming and laughing over stupid balls going all over the place) for 2 hours!
Time flies when you play pingpong…
The complete photo of the Lake Toya leg is in the Lake Toya 2015 photo album in Flickr.
Other entries of this trip is at Hokkaido Trip Summer 2015.
Today’s Giant Caplico:
Your narrative is very clear and precise with all the beautiful photos, make such a good read and I’m so glad I stumbled upon your sharing here. May I know how much does it cost to rent a bicycle (adult) at Usuzanfunka Memorial Park? Thank you!
Hi Angelina, thank you! Glad that you enjoyed it. I’m sorry though, I don’t remember anymore the precise price for the bike rental… It’s been 2 years, afterall. It was a few thousands yen, and I remember thinking it was quite expensive for a two-hour ride. Especially compared to the bike rental in Hirosaki and Moerenuma Park (which we stopped by later), it was only a few hundreds yen… The red bike was more expensive than the silver bike, though. Newer, I guess.