Lake Shikaribetsu is about 30km north of Shikaoi. Nestled up in the mountains, it is one of the highest elevation lakes in Hokkaido, and incredibly beautiful.
I was invited to go canoe-ing at Lake Shikaribetsu by my fellow Shikaoi ALT. I’m averse to nature (where the bugs live), or being trapped in a small boat in 300 ft deep water, but I decided to give it a shot! We also went with another new ALT from the nearby town Shimizu. We had a great time!
The drive up to lake Shikaribetsu is both terrifying and stunning. The road curves sharply, and at times has steep drops on both sides, but the scenery only gets more beautiful as you go on. As you might realize, this can be an especially dangerous combination.
As you approach the main lake area, you will first drive through a long tunnel, before being greeted by three large buildings; the nature centre, where you can sign up for activities such as canoeing, or rowboat rentals; Café Mubanchi, and the gift shop, which are are located in the same Tudor-style building; and the hotel.
There is another restaurant at the hotel with a lake view, and on the drive to Lake Shikaribetsu, there are also a handful of other places to eat. Roadhouse Nest is about 20 minutes from the lake, and has the best pizza I’ve had in Shikaoi so far!
After registering for the 2pm canoe session, we went for lunch at Café Mubanchi, where we got our fill of stew, bagels, and awkward English printed on tiny decorative napkins.
The guides spoke enough English to teach us the basics of canoeing, and then sent us off on the water. I opted for the canoe with a guide, since we were an odd numbered group. Right away, the guide asked me if I was from Stony Plain, and then told me that his daughter is one of my students! What a small world! The relationship between Stony Plain and Shikaoi can be felt so strongly here.
The sky was cloudy, but thankfully we avoided any rain during our canoe trip.
For those in Stony Plain, please stop by the “20 Years of Friendship” mural in Shikaoi Park and look for Lake Shikaribetsu in the background!