Lake Toya and Jigokudani (Hell Valley), Hokkaido

Today I decided to go to Lake Toya and check out what all the fuss is about. Riding uphill and through a few quick tunnels I arrived pretty quickly and found it to be an overcast lake with a few islands in the middle. I will admit that a lake’s beauty can be a bit over rated when you read about the reviews on Google and the like. Either way, I was there and took a ferry ride on a castle ferry to middle island (中島).

You can do some nature walks on the island and id you’re lucky you may see some deer, I only met a few snails along the way.

On the way back to camp I decided a bath was in order so dropped in at the closest onsen and cleaned myself up.

The next day I packed up the tent and went south east towards Jigokidani where I was sure I was on the right track after I was greeted pleasantly by clouds of fog

A giant bear:

And a giant ogre

After such warm greetings I was determined to get up to this onsen with all my gear on, up a solid 600m hill. This next lake boasts the second cleanest (behind Fukushima’s Arakawa river – lol). After cooling down from dripping sweat I asked a passerby to take a photo.

Next was the real Hell Valley, and really lived up to it’s name for seeming to be the entrance to Hell in ancient times.

You can walk a little further downstream and take a footbath, remember you’ll have nice damp socks afterwards though!

After such a hectic climb up with all my gear, another onsen was needed. Luckily a nice cheapish one (¥400ish) was down the bottom of Hell.

I stayed in that onsen until the sun set and was safe to set up camp wherever google maps said there was a green spot, about 200m away. You’ll learn camping in Japan, as long as you set up when the sun is down and packup before it gets too lively, you can camp almost anywhere! This was kind of next to some construction zone / car park. No dramas.

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