Reporter experiences Lake Toya helicopter cruising

‘Lake Toya Sky Cruising,’ a light-helicopter flight that starts from the Silo Observatory and takes in Lake Toya, Mt. Usu and the like, began this season’s operations as of April. A Hokkaido Shimbun Press reporter took a test flight to experience this convenient and enjoyable aerial adventure.

 At 11:00 a.m. on May 17, when the weather was clear and the wind was calm, the helicopter carrying three passengers, including the reporter, took off from the Silo Observatory and headed toward Lake Toya, the water surface of which sparkled blue.
 After approximately five minutes, the helicopter was above the Toyako Onsen hot-spring resort. Slightly above the line of sight of the emerald green pond of the Yukun Crater, which was created during the eruption of Mt. Usu in 2000, spreads a 360-degree panorama that includes Lake Toya’s Nakajima Island, Mt. Usu and Mt. Yotei.

 The fan-shaped area of Takarada district was also distinguishable at a glance. The agricultural activities, hotels, ropeway, and other tourist attractions around Lake Toya gave a glimpse of the rich symbiosis between nature and people.
There are four sky cruising courses, including the three-minute ‘Lake Toya Course’ (3,800 yen per person) and the most popular, nine-minute ‘Mt. Usu Course’ (9,000 yen per person), and during the extended holiday period from April 28 to May 8, approximately 500 people took advantage of the services.
The tours operate between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Holidays are irregular and reservations are not possible.
(Written by Yamanaka Yusuke)

Dynamic views of Lake Toya, Mt. Usu and Showa Shinzan. Funka Bay can be seen in the distance
The Toyako Onsen hot-spring resort, which benefits from Mt. Usu and the volcano, can be seen below
Expansive farmland spreads out between Lake Toya and Mt. Yotei (on the right in the distance)


Silo Observatory