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One Night at Lake Toya with Fireworks Festival

Lake Toya is located southwest of Sapporo and New Chitose Airport, between Niseko (one of Hokkaido’s finest powder snow ski resort areas) and the Pacific Ocean.

Lake Tōya is a volcanic caldera lake in Shikotsu-Toya National Park, Abuta District, Hokkaidō, Japan.  The lake is nearly circular, being 10 kilometers in diameter from east–west and 9 kilometers from north–south. It has an area of 70.7 km2 and shore length of 46 km.

Lake Tōya (洞爺湖, Tōya-ko)

How to get to Lake Toya

From Tokyo, you can reach Lake Toya by flying to Chitose City’s New Chitose Airport, and then jumping on a local train from there. You can also ride the shinkansen all the way from Tokyo, a journey completely covered by the JR Rail Pass.

If you’re coming by car, it is:

  • about 2 hours from Sapporo
  • about 1 hour and a half from New Chitose Airport
  • about 2 hours and 15 minutes from Hakodate

Coming from Sapporo, we took the train from JR Sapporo station down to Toya station. It was a 1 hour and 52 minutes, or 163km train ride.

Toya Station

From Toya station to Lake Toya, it was another 15 minutes bus ride. The bus stopped at Toyako Onsen bus terminal, where we continued on foot (4 minutes or 300 meters) to our hotel – Toya Kanko Hotel.

Toya Kanko Hotel is in Toyako Onsen, which is at the foot of Mount Usu is where you will find most of the area’s hotels and shops, a visitor center, the sightseeing boat pier and the bus terminal.

Lake Toya

We took a walk along the lake side.

Toyakoguruttochokoru Park

Tea Break at Wakasaimo

Japanese Confectionary Shop

Toya Kanko Hotel

Toya Kanko Hotel offers elegant rooms. The hotel comprises 131 rooms. WiFi throughout the accommodation is available. Some rooms offer a heating system, a safe box and a wardrobe with views of the mountain. A tub, a hairdryer and free toiletries are featured.

At レストラン「湖畔」 restaurant all guests are invited to enjoy Japanese cuisine. The outdoor bar is a nice spot for relaxation. Boyotei and Sobakura are situated about 200 meters from the venue. A private pool is featured onsite. Toya Kanko Hotel offers sport activities, such as tennis and table tennis.

Japanese Style Room
Japanese Style Room
Yukata (Japanese Pajamas)
Direct view of Lake Toya from hotel room

Private Dinner at Toya Kanko Hotel

Private dinner of pork, cooked seafood, fresh raw seafood, desserts, and passion fruit at the hotel.

Lake Toya Fireworks

After dinner, we went back down to the lake to enjoy the fireworks.

The Lake Toya Long Run Fireworks Festival is a 187-day-long display that runs from April 28 to October 31. The skies above Lake Toya are lit up fireworks every night from about 20:45PM – 21:45PM.

Guests staying at the many lakeside hotels can enjoy the 20 minutes fireworks display from the comfort of their rooms or the open-air onsen baths. A special fireworks-viewing boat service is available for those romantics among you who want to make the evening even more special.

Of course it’s free of charge along the lake. But to view it from the boat; the fare for the fireworks viewing boat is ¥1,600 for adults and ¥800 for children.

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2017 Year of Rooster

We’re barely a month into 2017 and its already another new year – Chinese New Year (CNY) – life’s second chance. Therefore, I’ve decided that my 2017 starts again on February 1st… January was a trial month. With that being said, 2016 was the Year of Monkey and it’s no more monkey business; time for the real deal.




Being born and raised in Kuala Lumpur (KL) has been quite a privilege. This is because during CNY, I don’t have to be part of the massive crawl back to the hometown – wherever and however far it may be. The roads and highways in KL itself becomes devoid of cars, especially at peak hours. Its a breeze zooming from one end of town to the other. But of course, drive within the speed limits, because the car workshops are closed and the doctors are on leave for holiday.

The town has become a ghost town. Restaurants, shops, and offices have closed for the new year. Even shopping malls have become deserted. Shopping outlets – telecommunication stores, clothing departments, and cafes – have also closed for the new year. The only thing left open are the mamaks restaurants. No dim sum, wantan mee, and teh kecil in the morning but more roti canai, nasi lemak, and mee goreng for the next few days. Huat Ah!!

On the eve of CNY, we gathered together for a reunion dinner at my grandmother’s house (my mother’s mother). We ate poon choi (👈🏻  click the link for more info), which cost a whopping RM500++ per pot, and we ordered 2 pots of poon choi! 😱  So you do the maths.

From Chor Yat (translated as the 1st day of CNY), its the start of the endless reunions, house visitations, greetings, snacking, drinking, loh sangs, and reunion dinners for the next two weeks. I think during CNY, I’ve drank and eaten more sugar and snacks than in my birthday, Christmas, and other auspicious events combined in a year.

Its a joy to visit the family, cousins, long lost relatives and friends at a reunion or a house visitation. After all the CNY greetings and well-wishes; the yearly, awkward, and unavoidable questions pop out:

  • What are you studying?
  • Where are you working? What are you working as?
  • Where is your boyfriend or girlfriend?
  • When are you getting married?
    • Because the aunties and uncles want to reduce their annual CNY ang pow output.
  • When are you getting a baby?
  • When is your baby getting married? 😱  (Ok, maybe a bit too much…)

QuestionS time is over and when ALL the questions have been answered, time for snacks and drinks to quench the thirst.

*Stares at all the CNY cookies*


*Munches on all the snacks and forgets about lunch*

Credit: Sean Tan

After all the makan-makan, we move to the next house and to the next for visitations. The houses may be next door, down the road, or across town, but its worth the journey. The ang pows collected from as little as RM2 to as much as RM100 or more individually, are worth the journey 🤑 . Sometimes secretly eyeing the aunties who give RM2 ang pows in the Year of Monkey, or Year of Goat ang pow packets, when its 2017 and Year of Rooster.😑 😑  #doublekill

Nevertheless, its the festive season. Its the season to celebrate, fei-lo-ship, and be prosperous. Eat, drink, snack, and loh to your heart’s (and stomach’s) content. Happy Chinese New Year. GONG XI FA CAI!!!!

I’ve decided that my 2017 starts again on February 1st… January was a trial month.

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