For whatever reason, most of the sources I’ve read have Onuma listed as a Quasi-National Park. Not sure why that is and I don’t care enough to look it up. When it’s not winter, the Park is a bunch of islands connected by bridges, but in winter, the lake freezes over.
There were a bunch of monuments scattered throughout the park. I found a few and none of them had any explanation in English. Even the one that’s explicitly listed on the map doesn’t have an explanation behind why it’s there, just a name. The others I found were a stone pagoda (without any kind of marker or sign) and a stone column that had kanji I couldn’t read.
There were a number of trails available through the park and I tried all but one. Unfortunately, being a beautiful sunny day, the snow was melting and refreezing on the trails making them very icy. In a couple spots, it was safer to walk off-trail on the snow or even on the frozen lake rather than taking the trail or crossing by the bridge. And of course, what’s better after a day of hiking? Craft beer.
Seems like every small town in Japan has a craft brewery, but all the beers were good. I also ordered their Wagyu beef curry for lunch.
Hokkaido is known for its milk products, especially soft-serve ice cream. So, to be a complete tourist, I had to try it. Delicious and not at all inky tasting.
Instead of heading straight back to the hotel, I decided to scout out tomorrow’s stop – the onsen town of Noboribetsu. I was surprised getting off the train that there was really nothing going on. I expected to see some hot spring resorts along with the standard tourist shops and restaurants. The town looked surprisingly dead. I walked down the street from the station for a bit, turning around when I saw the sign saying that the hot spring hotels were 7 km away. I had no intention of walking that far so I popped into a local yakitori restaurant for dinner.
Back at the hotel, I gave the public bath a try. Sort of a trial run before I hit the hot springs tomorrow. Very relaxing, although I don’t think I’ll ever get the hang of showering while sitting down.