《A Big Hollow 》
New Chitose Airport is called “Hokkaido’s main gateway to the skies.” In Chitose city, we have a beautiful lake, Shikotsu-Ko (“Ko” means lake) which is famous for its transparency (it has been officially recognized as the best in Japan for many times) and as the northernmost ice-free lake.
The history of Hokkaido cannot be separated from the Ainu race, aboriginal peoples in Japan. The Ainu race has been told to be driven by the Yamato race (the majority at present in Japan) to the northern part of Japan, Hokkaido. Therefore, they have settled down in Hokkaido, and the Ainu language can be seen everywhere in Hokkaido; most of the names of places are from the Ainu language. For example, Sapporo (the prefectural of Hokkaido) means “big- reed bed- river.” As for “Shikotsu,” it means “big hollow” which was originally described for the geographical feature of “Chitose.” Anyway, the “big hollow” has attracted countless numbers of people with its mysterious beauty.
《Never say you’ve missed a boat trip!》
People describe the beauty of its color as “Shikotu-Ko Blue,” and we like to drive or walk around the lake to enjoy it. Surprisingly, boat trip in Shikotsu-Ko is not so as popular as you expect. If you take a boat trip, you can also enjoy seeing the bottom of the lake. Shikotsu-Ko is also famous for its depth which is the second deepest lake in Japan after Tazawa-Ko located in Akita prefecture. Let us imagine! The lake is the most transparent and the second deepest in Japan; the whole color of the sky melt in the lake! When you ride on the boat, please go downstairs. On the way of the boat trip, you will see numerous numbers of pillars at the bottom as well as a school of fish. It is called columnar joint (Chu-Jo-Setsu-Ri) which has been made by volcanic eruption in ancient times. This is my favorite moment when the pillars appear like a part of Atlantis does.
《Eat as Romans do!》
Food is also as one of the delight memories. I would introduce the best three as the following.
#1: Age-Imo: Shikotsu-Ko is the second famous spot for whole deep fried potatoes in Hokkaido; the first one is Nakayama-Toge (a Pass located in the western part of Hokkaido.) You can put tomato ketchup on it, but the potato doesn’t need anything because of its original sweetness. As you may know, Hokkaido grows potatoes the most in Japan.
#2: Soft ice cream: Chitose City is famous for hascaps which is like blueberries. The best recommended flavor is hascaps made into a sauce on ice cream. The second recommended one is Yuubari-melon flavor. Yuubari City (located in the middle part of Hokkaido) is famous for cantaloupe melon which is sweeter than muskmelon or honeydew.
If you are at New Chitose Airport, and don’t have enough time to drop in Lake Shikotsu-Ko, you can enjoy hascap soft cream there as well as other flavors.
#3: Kokanee salmon (Hime-Masu): Shikotsu-Ko has been proved by Hiime-Masu that its water is clean because Hime-Masu is a symbol of clean water. You can enjoy raw or deep fried Hime-Masu.
There is hot springs the lakeside of Shikotsu-Ko. If you have plenty of time to stay, you can drop in at hot springs. They have one-day plans as well as overnight plans. Please check the detail by the following URL.
Car: It will take about 30 minutes from New Chitose Airport. In this case, you might rent a car at the airport. Be careful for deer on the way; they suddenly appear from the roadside with no hesitation to bump into cars.
Bus: You can take a bus from New Chitose Airport, or Sapporo.
Please check the detail for access by the following URL.
《To be an expert of the adventure》
#1: You should not visit Shikotsu-Ko on the next day of a rainy day, otherwise water will get muddy, and you cannot enjoy the original color.
#2: It might be cool because of the wind even in summer, so take a long-sleeved jacket if you are sensitive to the cold.
#3: You should not drive to Shikotsu-Ko during winter because the road is very slippery with the ice and snow. In addition, deer will appear more frequently than other seasons. Instead, you had better take a bus.
Let us be a Wanderer in Blue!