Lake Shikotsu is located in Chitose city in Hokkaido, which has boasted the clearest lake in Japan 8 years in a row and is the ice-free lake in the northernmost of Japan.It is surrounded by three volcanos:Mt.Eniwa, Mt.Fuppushi and Mt.Tarumae.The extraordinary scenic beauty of the four seasons was designated a national park in 1949.
One extreme cold dayー Akadama Japan visited a Hot spring (Onsen)hotel, which stands quietly by Shikotsu lakeside .It is “Lakeside Villa Suimeikaku”.The hotel was originally owned a certain company since the Taisho period(1912~1926) and
was taken over by “Marukoma Onsen Ryokan*(established in 1915). Then Marukoma Onsen opened the present style of ”Suimeikaku” on the opposite shore in 2008.
Architectures in the national park have to follow the strict rules to protect nature.So, there are only two hotels standing by Shikotsu lake side,”Lakeside Villa Suimeikaku”and“Marukoma Onsen Ryokan”.
(*Onsen Ryokan: hot spring Japanese style hotel )
When I arrived at the hotel, a lit fireplace in the lobby made me forget the cold outside and feel warm. Suimeikaku has only 8 guest rooms.Each of them is named after native flowers in Lake Shikotsu, such as ”Komakusa”,”Usuyukiso”, and all rooms have lake views.
As soon as entering a room, a fantastic panoramic view of the mountains clearly reflecting on the lake welcomed me.Every room has a private natural hot spring.Moreover,there are two different types of open air hot springs(Roten buro) , a stone type and a hinokia (Japanese cypress).These open air baths can be reserved for private use.
The hot spring is a very soft alkaline spring,that causes your skin to become very smooth and filled with moisture! While I was soaking in the hot spring with a relaxed feeing, I enjoyed the sun setting in the lake in my private hot spring.A precious moment.I didn’t care about anybody or anything,and I felt comfortable.After taking a bath,I spent a relaxed time,using a massage chair,which was equipped in the room.Then, it was time for dinner!
A chef in a restaurant,who has improved his skill in famous creates
a full-course Italian dinner which is inspired from the lake’s delightful views in each season.The ingredients in cooking is mostly Hokkaido local and seasonal food.The chef works hard to discover these ingredients himself.
I was so impressed from the starter on this day’s menu, which was onion soup using rare onions named of “Sapporo-ki”, to the dessert. I was enraptured by the”Italian of Lake Shikotsu” from bottom of my heart.Vegetables,fish, and meat, everything was brought out full of natural flavors, and yet the really original and artistic menu, tasted delicate and gentle. I was very satisfied.
The next morning- the type of breakfast was changed. It was traditional Japanese food”Washoku”.
Each small potion of varied food was served in a wooden box.Everything tasted mild and healthy.
It's notable that a traditional personal rice cooker is served for each person, so, you can eat freshly steamed rice on time. The texture was fluffy and chewy, and the taste was slightly sweet. I couldn’t help eating up all the delicious rice!
”Lakeside Villa Suimeikaku” was ranked 16th in Japanese hotels with famous luxury hotels by “Trip advisor”,which is the world's largest travel site and makes it’s ranking based on travelers reviews. It’s been also chosen as one of the “Top 100 hotels and Ryokan in Japan by tourism professionals” and has some awards.Before I visited there, I imagined “Suimeikaku” as a kind of high-threshold hotel and a secret hideaway.But as the owner Mr.Yoshiro Sasaki says “We wouldn’t like the hotel to be a hideaway or incognito hotel.We just would like to offer service to our guests who can spend a quality,relaxing time here.This is only the standard hotel for mature people.”
Relaxed atmosphere,good facilities and a heart-warming hospitality…
The service by all staff kept a professional distance from my private time.
It is Excellent!!
It takes about 40minutes by car or takes about 50minutes by bus for Lake Shikotsu from Shinchitose Air port.It takes about 70minutes by car from Sapporo.
Enjoy scenery,reflecting on the surface of lake, relaxing in the hot spring and tasting sophisticated local food. Your heart must be overflowing.
Here gives luxury time for mature people.
It makes sense that there are many guests from overseas who stay longer.
I would like to stay longer if I could afford it!
◆Lakeside Villa Suimeikaku
◆Marukoma Onsen Ryokan