A Trip to Donan enjoying magnificent natural beauty and hot springs

Hakodate Area, Noboribetsu Area

Enjoy the dynamic nature of beautiful Lake Toya-ko and Noboribetsu Onsen Hot Spring, one of the representative spas of Japan.

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Day 1 - Noboribetsu

Haneda Airport -- <about 90 mins. by plane> -- New Chitose Airport -- < Free shuttle bus 15 mins.> -- [Northern Horse Park] -- < Free shuttle bus 15 mins.> -- New Chitose Airport -- <JR Chitose Line 4 mins.> -- Minami Chitose -- <JR Muroran Main Line 40 mins.> -- Noboribetsu -- <8 mins. by bus> -- [Noboribetsu Date Jidaimura] -- <10 mins. by bus> -- [f]

*The times required with public transportation are approximate.

Northern Horse Park

Noboribetsu Date Jidaimura

This is a reproduction of a town from the Edo period (1603-1867), so simply walking around there will conjure up visions of Samurai. Numerous attractions are offered, including a Ninja show.

Noboribetsu-onsen Hot Spring

At night you’ll stay at Noboribetsu-onsen Hot Spring. This is one of Japan’s major spas, dating back to 150 years ago, and the source spa gushing out is called “Jigoku-dani or Hell’s Valley”. The symbol of this resort area spreading along the river is the demon. After bathing in the spa, have fun searching for demon statues at various places in town.

Day 2 - Lake Toya-ko, Mt. Usu-san

Noboribetsu -- < JR Muroran Main Line Limited Express 40 mins.> -- Toya -- < 25 mins. by bus> -- [Lake Toya-ko] -- <15 mins. by bus> -- Usuzan Gondola -- [Mt. Usu-san] -- <15 mins. by bus> -- [Lake Toya-ko] -- <20 mins. by bus> -- Toya -- <JR Hakodate Main Line Limited Express 90 mins.> -- Hakodate -- [Hakodate, night view]

Lake Toya-ko

This is a beautiful caldera lake situated in Shikotsu Toya National Park, and it never freezes over, even in winter. Let’s take a trip on the lake in a sightseeing boat. On one of the islands, Naka-no-shima, there is a “Forest Museum” exhibiting nature’s bounty and the creatures of Lake Toya-ko. From May to October, you can take one of the tours to watch the Ezo Shika deer living in the forest of Naka-no-shima.

Mt. Usu-san

Mt. Usu-san situated at the lakeside is currently taking a break from the most powerful volcanic activity, but it still emits fumes. There is a walkway from which you can get a closer look at the crater that erupted in 2000. Mt. Usu-san has had several large eruptions, including one in 1943 where the upheaval of land created a new mountain called Showa Shinzan.

Mt. Usu Ropeway

Take the Mt. Usu Ropeway and view the lake from the mountain top.

Hakodate, night view

The night view of Hakodate is stunningly beautiful, so it was included in the world’s three best night views along with Naples and Hong Kong. Take the ropeway and enjoy the romantic town lights at night from Mt. Hakodate. At the top is a restaurant with windows that show off the 360deg panoramic view.

Day 3 - Hakodate

Hakodate -- <by walk> -- [Hakodate Morning Market] -- <by walk> -- Hakodate Eki-mae -- <bus> -- [Western-style buildings] -- <municipal railway 15 mins.> -- Goryokaku koen mae -- [Goryokaku] -- <municipal railway> -- Hakodate -- <JR Hakodate Main Line Limited Express 220 mins.> -- Sapporo

Hakodate Morning Market

Get an early start and visit the “Morning Market” that opens at 5 a.m. There are 300 stalls in the Hakodate Market selling fresh fish and shellfish including the famous crab and squid, foods and everyday items. After browsing through the market, try the sushi or ramen in one of the shops on the adjacent “Donburi Yokocho Ichiba”.

Western-style buildings

You’ll notice numerous Western-style buildings in Hakodate. The city developed as a port where foreign ships visited from the end of the 19th century and internationalization progressed from there. The center of the city is the Motomachi area. If you would like an efficient tour of famous spots such as the “Catholic Motomachi Church”, “Hakodate Russian Orthodox Church”, “Old British Consulate of Hakodate” and “Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse” now utilized as a shopping mall.


The ruins of the star-shaped fortress modeled after European castles are open to the public as a park. Originally, the fort was built as a defensive base for foreign ships, but at the end of the 19th century, Samurai warriors who were opposed to the new government seized the fortress and an intense battle ensued. If you climb the steps of the 90-meter-high Goryokaku Tower and look around, you can actually see the star shape of the fort.