Takarada Countryside and Lakeshore Route Footpath
This geopark is home to 12 footpaths, along which visitors can feel the charm of the volcano, the forest, the lake and the sea. It’s an opportunity to feel close to the energy of nature and the earth.
Manners and Precautions
- Prepare drinking water, a cap/hat, and clothes suitable for walking/hiking.
- There are places with bad footing.
- Do not collect plants or minerals.
- Parts of the Toya-Usu UNESCO Global Geopark belong to Shikotsu-Toya National Park. It is forbidden to take plants,animals,or rocks from a national park.
- Access to parts of the summit and foot of Usu Volcano that were host to volcanic activity in 2000,as well as Showa-Shinzan,is limited for reasons of nature conservation. Please do not cross the fences.
- Please be sure to take any garbage home with you.
- During the winter season (early November-late April), some trails are closed.
Points to note
The location information on courses on the maps in this website is not accurate. We assume no responsibility for any damage or loss arising from the use of this website.
An eruption in 1910 created a group of craters and faults, which have since turned into forests. This is a hiking route where you can try to imagine what this area, with its craters and faults which were created by the eruption in the year 2000, could look like after 100 years. In the summer, you can also enjoy taking a forest bath. There is also a point where weak fumarolic activity can be observed.
Following the 2000 eruption a large number of craters were created on the western slope of Mt. Konpira-yama, and Konomi-no-sawa, piling up volcanic ejecta and creating lahars. Also, the faults caused the displacement of topography. After the eruption of 1977-1978, the residential area of Konomi-no-sawa was evacuated, and sand-trap dams and artificial rivers were created to reduce the damage caused by lahar. Thanks to these measures, the effect of the disaster was successfully reduced in the eruption of 2000. As well as craters and faults, this route also preserves some remains of the disaster including some municipal housing, public baths, and national highway bridges that were damaged by lahar and cinders.
The eruption observed at the foot of the Nishi-yama in the year 2000 took place along the national highway, from the coastal area towards Lake Toya Onsen, and all along the town roads parallel to it. Multiple craters and faults were created by this eruption, causing the ground to lift and tilted. Some of these features have been preserved as remains of the eruption disaster.
This route starts at Lake Toya. The 1977 Eruption Remains Park preserves the remains of a damedged hospital that was affected by fault movements caused by the creation of the Usu-Shinzan Lava Dome at the summit. Even though approximately 70 years have passed since the eruption in 1944-45, the ground temperature of the Showa-Shinzan lava dome is still high, and the vegetation is recovering very slowly. The Showa-Shinzan lava dome can be observed from the foot of the mountain. You can take the ropeway to go to the station at the summit. At the top, there is an observation platform from where you can look down to Lake Toya and Mt. Showa-Shinzan, and another observation platform from where you can see the crater floor at the summit, and the groups of lava domes from a distance. If you go down a long set of stairs, you will find a walkway on the outer rim of the crater that goes round the south side of the summit.
Sobetsu Park locates on top of the hill on the southeastern side of the Toya Caldera. From there you can see Mt. Usu and Lake Toya, as well as Nakajima. Also you can see the flat lines of the pyroclastic flow plateaus at the edges of the caldera, as well as Mt. Yotei in the distance. Plum blossoms can be observed around the beginning to the middle of May. If you go down the other way from Sobetsu Park to the lake, there is an area full of volcanic ash soil that is unsuitable for paddy fields. In this place there are orchards growing strawberries, cherries, plums, grapes, and apples. Visitors can enjoy fruit picking from early June to early November.
Nakajima and its surrounding little islands have a group of lava domes and maar volcanoes which were created by repeated eruptions at the center of the Toya Caldera, approximately 50,000 years ago. With this circular route that goes round the eastern half of Nakajima, you can observe the volcanic terrain, and cliffs of volcanic ejecta. The number of wild Deer (Cervus nippon yesoensis) has increased in the forest, so here you are able to learn how they have managed to coexist with the forest.
A course where you can walk and view Toya Caldera and Nakajima, as well as the nature surrounding the area of Lake Toya. Compared to the south bank of Lake Toya, which has been greatly affected by Mt. Usu's eruptions, the north bank is full of green natural colors, offering calm countryside scenery. Toya Takarada Nature Experience House contains exhibitions of the natural surroundings of Lake Toya, and it also offers a range of interesting activities.
A walking route that goes round the Usu Zenkoji Nature Park. In this route you can walk among scenery dotted with complex undulating terrain, and the gigantic volcanic rock with cracks caused by the sector collapse of Mt. Usu approximately 7,000 to 8,000 years ago. Also, this is a route of great importance as it explains the effects of the Bunsei pyroclastic flow of 1822. Although the vegetation on the slope facing Mt. Usu was completely burnt by the pyroclastic flow, the other side is dotted with old trees with newly grown branches near the roots, which are somehow managing to survive. The famous “ishiwari-zakura,” designated as Hokkaido's commemorative protected tree, is a famous place for watching cherry blossoms and for enjoying nature.
Cape Poronotto is sticking out into Usu Bay; it is similar to the Zenkoji Nature Park in that its hummocky topography being buried at the time of Mt. Usu's sector collapse, has been left almost intact. Debris avalanches are characterized by complex undulating terrains and gigantic volcanic rocks with cracks. As well as offering a circular walking route, it also offers an observation platform at the top from where you can see Komagatake, and the geographical features of the surrounding areas.
A walking route, approximately 6km long, that goes from the car park at Otaki Athletic Park, and through the forests along the Osaru River. From this route you can enjoy the view of Mt. Tokushunbetsu, and the falls commonly known as the “Otaki Niagara Falls,” measuring 30m in width and featuring a 3m drop.
A mountain trail that was considered as one of the 3 roughest spots in Ezochi (present day Hokkaido), with Rebunge-toge at its center, on the border between Robunge in Toyoura Town and Shizukari in Oshamanbe Town. Excavations took place from 1799 onwards; however, the work was interrupted repeatedly, and proper maintenance was only carried out from 1894 onwards. Famous explorers have passed through here in the past: Takeshiro Matsuura in 1845, and Isabella Bird in 1878.