On the first day, we flew from Singapore to Narita and Narita to Chitose via ANA. The transit at Narita was pretty straightforward when we flew all the way with ANA. We checked in at Singapore and received our boarding passes for both flights. After clearing the customs at Narita, we picked up our luggage and followed the sign to ‘domestic transfer’ and there was a counter for us to drop off our luggage again. There was no need to lug our luggage around the airport and to check in again for the domestic sector.
We had 4 hours at Narita Airport which we just bummed away. Narita Airport was pretty boring, the only thing remotely interesting were the cute airplanes.
The tourist information counter lady recommended we visit Narita city, but I had just done that in my previous visit and did not fancy doing it again. If you have not done it before, you could do it because 4 hours is a long time at boring Narita Airport. Whatever it is, DO NOT go into the domestic boarding area until it is close to boarding time because there is nothing there besides one small lonely souvenir kiosk.
Finally, after a flight delay and long queue to take off at Narita, we arrived at Chitose at 9 pm. Everything was closed by then, so we just checked in to Air Terminal Hotel which was connected to Chitose Airport and stayed there. MF complained that he was hungry and the only thing to eat at that time was vending machine food. Do not underestimate vending machine though, the vending machine at the hotel had hot food like yaki soba, takoyaki and fried rice. There were also cup noodles for sale at the hotel lobby. MF ended up eating yaki soba from the vending machine which was not bad at all.
The next morning, we had breakfast at the hotel before picking up our rental car. Our first destination was Lake Shikotsu.
Lake Shikotsu was pretty boring in summer. The only reason I was here was for my favourite cheese imo mochi. Imo mochi is a popular snack in Hokkaido. Unlike normal mochi that is made of flour, imo mochi is made of potato. You can find imo mochi at many snack kiosks in Hokkaido, but after trying out so many, my favourite is still this cheese imo mochi at Lake Shikotsu. It is sweet and crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and oozing with hot yummy cheese.
The snack kiosk is located beside the Lake Shikotsu Tourist Information Centre. There are tables and chairs inside the shop where you can sit and dine. It is also a souvenir shop and there were some crackers for sample. I remember the squid cracker was pretty yummy.
Another popular item here was the soft-serve, which according the to sign is #2 in Japan and #1 in Hokkaido.
After we were done eating and strolling around the lake, we drove on to Lake Toya. We had planned a rest stop at Kinoko Oukoku, which is a shop specialising in mushroom products, but the kids were asleep when we reached there so we skipped it.
Just before reaching Lake Toya, we reached Sobetsu Fruit Village. We stopped to pick some strawberries at Takashina Fruit Farm which was the only farm open in early June. We paid the entry fee and were free to pluck and eat as many as we liked and there was no time limit. We were pretty noob and didn’t bring anything to wash the strawberries, the Japanese people there brought their own cup and water for washing the fruits. So if you’re planning to go fruit picking, don’t forget to bring a cup.
It was still early in the season and many of the strawberries were still pretty green, so we had to dig around a bit to find the red ones. I didn’t think the strawberries here were very sweet, the ones we plucked in Australia were nicer.
The kids had fun nevertheless. MF took his strawberry picking very seriously and went all out, digging through the leaves, to find the red ones.
Our visit was cut short when MY decided to poo and we had to go back to the car to change his diapers. We drove on to Lake Toya for lunch at Sendoan (仙堂庵) which was located on the second floor of the Wakasaimo store along Lake Toya’s southern shore.
The restaurant offered a beautiful view of Lake Toya.
We got a table right next to the window with lake view and it was tatatmi style. The restaurant provided little stools for the kids to sit on.
The food was delicious and reasonably priced.
Lake Toya is known for its hotate (scallop), so we ordered all sorts of hotate cuisine.
Each set came with a big bowl of soup with baby scallops.
The hotate wappameshi was pretty bland, but the raw hotate here was splendid! Sweet with a slight crunch of freshness, it was the best hotate we had during the whole trip. We ordered 2 more servings of hotate sashimi.
The kids meal was excellent value for money! Less than 600 yen and came with a free toy.
After lunch, we went downstairs to shop around the Wakasaimo store.
This is Wakasaimo’s mascot, Mr Wakasaimo.
They had free sample of their signature snack. The pre-packed version wasn’t very nice, but the freshly fried ones were good. We also tried their cheesecake and senbei (rice crackers), nothing to rave about. There is a cafe serving beautiful and enticing cakes, but we were too full to eat any of them. (Don’t forget we had strawberry buffet and lunch right before this.)
Next to the entrance of the store, there was a hand bath. I have seen many foot baths, but seldom do I see hand baths.
We went for a short stroll around Lake Toya to work off those calories.
The kids were ecstatic! I’m not sure why though… Sugar rush perhaps.
There are plenty of things to explore around Lake Toya, such as taking the sightseeing boat, riding the ropeway up Mount Usu or walking around the trail at Nishiyama Crater Promenade, but we were in eating mode and drove further West to Lake Hill Farm for more food.
There were two stores at Lake Hill Farm: Annex A is a cafe selling things like chou cream and milk pudding and Annex B sells ice-cream and juice.
The gelato at Lake Hill Farm was pretty well-known so we had to try it.
We also bought a chou cream to try.
MF gave a thumbs up for the gelato, but the chou cream was disappointing. The filling was okay, but the crust was dry and tasteless.
If the weather is good, you can sit outside and enjoy your ice-cream while enjoying the beautiful scenery. It was a pretty cloudy, gloomy day when we were there, not much of a scenery.
After eating, we went for a walk around the farm. It wasn’t much of a farm, just some rabbits, horses and a goat.
There were balls and racquets for kids to play for free. The kids had fun running around the field chasing the ball. It’s nice to let these hyperactive kids get away from the urban jungle of Singapore and just run around freely in the vast green field and kick the ball without fear of the ball rolling to the road or hitting something or somebody.
After this, we drove back to our hotel, Toya Sun Palace. We headed straight for the swimming pool which had big slides and a kids play area.
There is a giant ball thingy for the kids to run around in for a fee.
There were also floats that you could borrow (free of charge) to ride in the wave pool.
If you are not into swimming, the onsen at Toya Sun Palace is pretty big with many different baths.
After swimming, we had buffet dinner at the dining hall.
Every night from late April to late Oct, there is a 20 minute fireworks display at Lake Toya at 8.45pm. As MY was sleeping, I stayed in the room to watch the fireworks while hubby brought MF to the shore in front of the hotel to watch.
The fireworks started on one side of Lake Toya further from our hotel and I couldn’t see much of it from our room initially. But it moved towards our end of the lake as it progressed and the finale took place right in front of our hotel.
The next morning, we woke up to a beautiful view of Lake Toya from our room.
We went to the dining hall for breakfast and sat beside the large window with a grand view of the lake.
I especially love the kaisen don (seafood rice bowl) they provided at breakfast. Since it’s a buffet, you choose your own ingredients, so I took a bit of rice and topped it off generously with amaebi (sweet shrimp), ika (squid), kani (crab), maguro (tuna) and tamago (egg). There was a good mix of Japanese and western food and the pasta was quite nice too.
After the sumptious breakfast, we left Lake Toya and drove on to our next destination, Hakodate.
Other posts for this trip
Complete summarized itinerary
Part 1: New Chitose Airport -> Lake Toya
Part 2: Lake Toya -> Hakodate
Part 3: Hakodate -> Niseko
Part 4: Niseko -> Otaru
Part 5: Otaru
Part 6: Sapporo
Part 7: Furano
Part 8: Furano -> Biei -> Furano
Part 9: Tomamu -> Obihiro -> New Chitose Airport
This post is archived under my Japan Travel Blog: