Winter Lake Toya all to yourself with a popular canoeing activity

After departing from the snow-covered shores of Lake Toya by canoe, an extraordinary world of beauty awaits (photographed using a fisheye lens)

TOYA TOY BOX, an outdoor guide company in the town of Toya in the Iburi region of central Hokkaido, is offering a rare winter canoeing activity that is proving popular. Winter canoeing is not a standard activity, but TOYA TOY BOX has implemented safety measures such as joining two Canadian canoes together, hoping that visitors will enjoy the tranquility of the area and the beautiful lake, which is clearer than in summer.
After learning how to paddle a canoe, participants leave the snow-covered shoreline and head out onto the lake. When the sun shines, they can clearly see the stripy patterns of sand on the lakebed, through the blue water. Rocky parts of the lakebed also appear, and as the water suddenly becomes deeper away from the shore, it seems to be sucked into a deeper blue. “Unlike in the more crowded summer season, you can have the lake all to yourself,” says representative Naya.
The one-hour activity is aimed at junior high school students and over, and is offered twice a day – at 9:20 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. until April 15. The cost is 6,600 yen per person, with two to four participants each time. Reservations are accepted up to 4:00 p.m. the previous day. Warm clothes and other items are lent free of charge.