Most of Daisetsuzan National park is located in northern Hokkaido but a sliver of it resides in eastern Hokkaido. That sliver is Lake Shikaribetsu. It is located north of Obihiro city in Shikaoi. You can get there by bus (from Obihiro Station or Shikaoi) and by car. It is the highest lake in Hokkaido, and is surrounded by mountains on all sides. For those that want to stay overnight, there is a hotel available with a view of the lake. You can enjoy ferry tours, kayaking, and camping in summer and enjoy the fall colors in early October. The best time to visit Lake Shikaribetsu though is actually in winter.
From December to early May the lake freezes over, and from January to March an igloo village is created on the frozen lake. It is called the Shikaribetsu-ko Kotan. The locals create this village every year for tourists to enjoy. The igloo village includes an ice bar, an outdoor hot spring, a small play area for children, and individual small igloos that you can explore. Once you are done exploring the igloo village, continue onwards out onto the frozen lake for some snowshoeing. If you end up coming later in the season some of the smaller igloos may have started to melt, so be warned.
Igloo Village Ice Bar
If you are in the mood for wildlife there is a cute furry little animal living around the lake. You may even hear it before you see it. It is called a pika, and it makes its home under the volcanic rocks scattered on the mountain. It is supposedly the inspiration for the most famous Pokémon, Pikachu. They only live in the high elevation areas where the volcanic rock is located. They have a very unique scream, which make them a little easier to spot once you hear it. The pika is also the mascot of Hokkaido.
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