By the time we left Lake Mashu for the seven-hour drive to Lake Shikotsu, it was almost 2pm. The GPS indicated initially that we would reach our resort after 9pm. That’s means we would miss our dinner which we had paid for. Thankfully, our GPS was not updated. The toll-highway that was indicated as dotted lines in our physical map has already been completed. On the GPS, we were shown as ‘flying through space’, but we were actually charging down the highway while trying to keep to the speed limit and hopefully made it in time for dinner.
Lake Shikotsu Tsuruga Resort Spa MIZU NO UTA is our last stop in Hokkaido. This lake is situated next to the more famous Lake Toya. We were awed by the sprawling low-rise resort, rarely in Japan.
Upon entering the lobby, a staff is at hand to exchange your shoes for the in-house slippers. The lobby has a modern sitting area while you wait to be checked in. At 8pm nightly, a harpist from Mexico serenades instrumental hits.Next to the sitting area is a lounging area with a fire-place in the middle. Large leather cushions are placed around for you to lie back, sit or just…lounge about. At night, a tray of marshmallows is thoughtfully placed next to the fire-place where you can barbeque and snack while chatting. Surrounding this platform lounge area are shelves of books. Next to it, a JBL sound systems playing soothing music when the harpist is off. Our rooms were located just next to the lounge area. In our western room, there was a Japanese (chair with back but no legs) sitting area as well as two massage chairs. I tried the massage chairs and it was the perfect remedy for tired muscles after a long drive.
The onsen area is below the lounge area. The onsen is designed to shape like a natural pond amidst lush greenery.
In this resort, one can literally let down and relax. We wore our pyjamas and slippers throughout the day, going for our meals and some even ventured out to the lake in the pyjamas and velvet robes.
Our resort is situated next to the Lake Shikotsu, a pictureque lake surrounded by three volcanos: Mount Eniwa to the north and Mount Fuppushi (風不死岳)and Mount Tarumae to the south. Lake Shikotsu is a caldera, a cauldron-like volcanic feature usually formed by the collapse of land following a volcanic eruption.The sakuras were in bloom as we strolled along the lake, crossing a historical railway to the other side.
Unfortunately while we were there, Mount Tarumae, an active volcano was closed, so was the moss-covered cave featured in the Tourist map.
Dejected, we decided to spend our remaining time enjoying the resort rather than drive further to Lake Toya, our original plan. After all, how often can one laze around in pyjamas all day without a care in the world.