Japan's northernmost ice-free lake, popular for fishing and boating, remains unfrozen even throughout Hokkaido's harsh winter.
Lake Shikotsu is located in southwestern Hokkaido, west of the city of Chitose. It is a crater lake that was formed over 40,000 years ago by volcanic activity, and it has a maximum depth of 363 meters, making it the second deepest lake in Japan. It is an oligotrophic lake with visibility to a depth of 25 meters, and does not freeze in most winters. This makes it the most northerly lake in Japan that does not freeze over.
The eastern lakeshore near the mouth of the Chitose River is the center for tourists, and has hotels and pickup points for pleasure boats. There are also three campsites around the lake. On 10-meter-high rock bluff faces that stretch for 500 meters, is a moss gateway, the mouth of which is thickly covered with about 30 varieties of moss, giving it a lustrous, dreamlike beauty. Because of partial collapse, the moss gateway is now available for observation from a viewing deck located at its entrance which opens from early June to late October.
[Air] 1h 30 min from Haneda to New Chitose Airport, and 55 min from the airport to Shikotsu-kohan (lakeside) terminal by Chuo bus.
[Air] 2h from Itami, or 2h 15 min from Kansai International Airport to New Chitose Airport.