The Hokkaido trail continues.
After a 3-hour drive from Hakodate, we arrived at our ryokan, Kohan Tei in Lake Toya in the late evening. As our booking included dinner, we had a very decent buffet dinner in the hotel. The next morning we headed out early to explore the pretty town.
It was a lovely bright autumn day and trees have turned red and gold. Driving through the small quiet roads in Lake Toya town, we appreciated the slow unhurried pace of life and took time to enjoy the gorgeous weather and beautiful scenery. We spotted a pretty cafe and decided to pay it a visit.
Cafe-House Raidojuku was warm and cosy and so homely! It looked like we had stepped into somebody’s bar and dining room. Toys, knick-knacks, potted plants all add up to the homely feel and we even had a big teddy sitting with us at the table – too cute! Run by a retired couple, the menu was simple – we had some cheese sandwiches, omelette and coffee with teddy. It’s such a comfortable place, so we took our time and lingered a while.
From Cafe-House Raidojuku, we took a drive around the town. As you can see from the map, the place is well-contained and everywhere is easy to get to. We read about a good soba restaurant and set about locating it – didn’t take us long to find it!
Sobakura is another quaint little eatery. There’re only a few tables and I’ve heard it’s always full so we made it a point to be there just after they opened, ie around 11.00am. It’s a neat cosy place, very simply fitted out with plain wooden furniture. We had the whole place to ourselves when we arrived, right until we finished our meal.
The soba here was amazing – smooth and slurp-worthy with a nice al dente texture, just the way I like my noodles. My bowl of sansei & mushrooms soba in sweet clear broth was brimming over with deliciousness while the others also thoroughly enjoyed their soba with freshly-fried tempura as well as the cold soba.
36 Toyako Onsen
Interesting stuff in the park by the lake!
We took a walk along the lakeside and it was a super windy and chilly day and the sun was shining gloriously. Lake Toya is huge volcanic caldera lake, measuring 10km in diameter east-west and 9km north-south. It’s so big that from where we were, it looked like an endless sea. The strong wind caused fast ripples on the lake which was kinda fascinating to watch.
After the walk in the chilly wind, we needed hot coffee and the obvious choice was Wakasaimo Cafe which is very popular as it has frontal view of the lake. We of course couldn’t resist some of their delectable cakes as well and took our time chilling out at this cafe. The view from our table was superb.
Cakes & coffee and ice cream!
After coffee and cakes, some of us were still peckish so we headed up to the 2nd floor where there’s another popular restaurant, Sendoan, for a bit of lunch. Their unagi’s really good.
1st Floor Wakasaimo
144 Toyako Onsen, Toyako
Open: 11.00amn – 7.00pm
The next day we decided to venture a bit further out from Toyako town. We headed out to Lake Hill Farm, about 20 minutes’ drive away. It’s a really pretty place, a great place for kids as there are ponies, rabbits and even a goat on the farm. We stayed for coffee and ice cream! Yes, get a taste of Hokkaido’s famous soft serves here, in so many flavours too! Definitely a scenic spot to stop by.
Lake Hill Farm
If you are driving from Lake Toya to Sapporo, there are countless fruit farms to stop by and visit, along the way. We were there at the right time – apples, pears and grapes were in season. Freshly-picked fruits, like literally just from the trees, were all on sale for a song!
Along the way, if you need to stop for a bit of retail therapy or just to stretch your legs and catch a bite, the Rera Chitose Outlets Mall should not be missed. There are a lot of Japanese brands here, besides the usual international brands.
Rera Chitose Outlets Mall
Lunch in the Mall
We had lunch in the mall before continuing our drive to Sapporo.
Watch out for my next post – all about our time in Sapporo!