National Parks in Hokkaido Photo Week: Shikotsu-Toya National Park

I recently traveled around Hokkaido, and wish to share the photos I took in the national parks, complete with alt-text descriptions for the visually impaired. Click on the pictures to see them at full size. Enjoy!


This is all in Shikotsu-Toya National Park.

There is a clear blue sky above.  In the center of the picture we see a conical mountain with streaks of snow running down in and a cloud cutting across it horizontally.  On the right we see a pine tree, and at the bottom of the picture we see a green forest.

Yoteizan, also known as Makkarinupuri (Ainu name) and Ezo-Fuji (‘Ezo’ is the old Japanese name for Hokkaido, and ‘Fuji’ … I think you can figure that one out), as seen from Nakayama Pass.

We look into an abandoned building which has a layer of volcanic silt covering the floor, with broken windows, appliances, etc lying around.  In the foreground we see a little grass.

This building was busted by the 2000 eruption of Mt. Usu.

wWe see a clear blue sky above, with some clouds hanging just above the land.  In the distance, we see some green hills rising out of the lake.  In the foreground we see a railing and a yellow-leafed plant running in a diagonal from lower right to upper left, framing the view of the lake and the islands.

There is Nakajima, the set of islands in the center of Lake Toya.

We see a clear blue sky above, with some low lying white clouds in the distance.  In the center we see forested islands in the lake.  The bottom half of the picture is all blue, blue lake.

A close up of the islands in the lake.

There is a blue sky above, and a concrete building to the left in the shade.  We are on a brick walkway, with people dressed as various anime and manga characters walking by.

This park is famous for being one of the last wild habitats of a rare endangered native species known as the cosplayer (okay. there was just an anime and manga convention at Lake Toya that day).

We see a blue sky above, with some low lying white clouds.  We see some islands in the center of a giant lake.  On the left is what is left of the sun, illuminating the left side of the picture with warm yellow light, with the right side of the picture immersed in blue shadows.

Sunset at Lake Toya.

In the upper left we see some forested hills in the distance, but in the near upper left we see orange and white mounds of exposed bared slopes, with various jets of steam rising up.  In the center a little blue stream runs through the white mounds.

This is ‘Hell Valley’

We see a landscape which looks like a forested hill was ripped open, and orange and white minerals came out the gash like pus in a wound, with a little grey-blue stream flowing through it.

Panorama of Hell Valley (Noboribetsu Onsen)

We see a blue grey pool of water with steam rising out, with little clumps of iron ore building up at the edges of the pool.

This is the iron pool – as you can see, iron ore is building up on the side. (Noboribetsu Onsen)

Above we see a cloudy sky.  To the left we see a hill, and in the center we see a white gash in the hill with a grey pool of water right below, all surrounded by green forest.

This is Oyunuma, which is 50 degrees Celcius at the surface, 130 degrees at the bottom (this lake is 22 meters deep), and it is the largest body of hot water in all of Japan. (Noboribetsu Onsen)

On the right side we see a green hill with a white and orange gash in the side.  Below we see a wide shot of a grey lake with steam rising out, all with greenery at the edges.

Oyunuma, Again

In a bright gree forest, we see a small waterfall of grey-blue water.  In the foreground is a little bamboo platform, with two people sitting on a little bench, with their backs facing the viewer.

This is the BEST FOOTBATH IN JAPAN! And it was made by nature – this stream flows from Oyunuma, is naturally hot, and you can just dip your feet in. It is way better than artificial footbaths.

Continue to the next post: “Shiretoko National Park”


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7 thoughts on “National Parks in Hokkaido Photo Week: Shikotsu-Toya National Park

  1. “Yoteizan, also known as Makkarinupuri (Ainu name) and Ezo-Fuji (‘Ezo’ is the old Japanese name for Hokkaido, and ‘Fuji’ … I think you can figure that one out)”

    I’m sorry to say I couldn’t figure it out! Without searching the web for a while.

    For anyone wondering: apparently many symmetrical Japanese volcanoes are named after the famous Mount Fuji near Tokyo.

    Unluckily for me I searched for the meaning of “Fuji” under Mount Fuji, and there’s no clear answer to that. It did cross my mind that it might be a homage to Mount Fuji, but that was only one of several possibilities. It could have meant “mountain”, in which case the English name “Mount Fuji” would have been silly, but that happens. Or it could have meant something common like “tall” or “white” or “hood”. Or you could have mentioned the meaning before, but I didn’t see it.

    Anyway, nice photo report!

    It’s kind of interesting that a mountain is named after another. It happens a lot in the US for cities, but I can’t think of an example for mountains or rivers etc.

    • Ah, it was not as obvious as I thought it was. Yes, Japanese have a tendency to call any mountain which looks like Mt. Fuji a “fuji”. It is related to Shinto religion – Mt. Fuji is a sacred mountain, so people liked to have a local Fuji to worship if they were far from Mt. Fuji itself. Someone once asked me why Mt. Asahi (which will appear in the last post this week) is not a -fuji even though it is a volcano and the highest mountain in Hokkaido. I responded that, even though it is a volcano, it does not look like Mt. Fuji (maybe it looks like a Fuji which almost got cut into halves).

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