Lake Toya 洞爺湖 (Toya-ko): Transport, Stay and Orientation

By Cubie - October 21, 2012

Limited Express Super Hokuto 6, free seating train tickets: 1,040 yen + 1,100 yen = 2,140 yen
One could either take bus to get to Toyako Onsen (bus-bus) or bus-train-bus option. Ok, here goes.

Option 1 which is the bus-bus option. One could take a bus from Noboribetsu Onsen station (Donan bus terminal) to Higashi-machi terminal (東町ターミナル) and another bus from there to Toyako Onsen. Fare: 680 yen + 1,120 yen = 1,800 yen. Total journey time approximately 3 hours. Example if you take the 8.58 am bus from Noboribetsu Onsen, you will only reach Toyako Onsen at 12.07 pm.

Option 2 would be the bus-train-bus option, translating to taking the bus from Noboribetsu Onsen to JR Noboribetsu station (330 yen), swap to a train, then take another bus from JR Toya to Toya Onsen (320 yen). Heh. If you take this option, then there's the question of which train do you select? Limited Express trains are the fastest (taking only 36 minutes) but also the most pricey option, with free seating cost 2,140 yen in total.

If you want to reduce the cost but taking a slower train, please check Hyperdia (Toya JR Muroran). The cheaper option I had cost 1,040 yen but takes 95 minutes. Much cheaper but in the end I made the decision to take the limited express train as at that time, the train will reach JR Toya station at 12.27 pm which is the exact time when Donan Bus leave for Toyako Onsen. So, please do check the bus timetable from JR Toya station to Toyako Onsen.

Many thanks to the super helpful Donan bus staff at Noboribetsu Onsen station! He checked out the prices for bus and trains, also the timetable for all the above for me. I am very grateful :)
So of course, it is much expensive with transportation expenses totalling at 2,790 yen compared to 1,800 yen. There you go, if you have some time to spare and wanting to reduce your transportation cost, there are some alternatives that you could choose.

Beautiful view on the way to a relaxing Toyako Onsen
There is a Tourist Information Centre just upstairs from Donan bus station in Toyako Onsen. Here's a scanned map to show the orientation around. Sorry, the stitching is not very good :/

We stayed in Toyako Manseikaku in Lake Toya. This hotel is superbly huge, seriously. They even give out maps of the hotel, just to tell you how to get to your room, to the restaurant for breakkie and dinner, also the most important, how to get to the onsen! We stayed at seventh floor in the east wing of the hotel while the restaurant was in the west wing. Reception area was in the central area. Onsen where we were to go were located at 8th floor, at west wing. I had some problem finding the right elevator to go to the onsen too. = ="

Truth to be told, I think Toyako Manseikaku was way too crowded though I didn't think it was a public holiday. I was rather tired to go to the onsen after wandering the whole day, however as fate has it, I actually woke up at an ungodly hour of 5ish in the morning without alarm. Since I was up, I grabbed the chance to enjoy the onsen, and hoping that at such hour, it would be rather empty.

Ha! How wrong I was. It wasn't crowded but there were quite a number of people though. The shampoo, conditioner and bath wash were great, I think the conditioner was made from horse oil (馬油). This place has outdoor hot spring (露天風呂) as well. Imagine an outdoor hot spring overlooking Lake Toya, such a tranquil feel.

Customary photo of the room, there was a small balcony too!
Superb view from the room itself, great for fireworks at night! Though the balcony was a bit chotto...

Side note: How does it happen that I am chasing after the train almost every morning? = ="

  • Share:

You Might Also Like


  1. Hi there,

    May i know if you could tell me how to check the updated Donan bus schedule (in English) for 2015?
    I will be coming from Toya JR Muroran to take the bus to Lake Toya.

    Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Lina,
      I googled a little and found this from the Donan Bus website, it is from 2013 - I am not sure if there are newer timetable but the times are looking like this:

      Toya Station to Lake Toya
      7:25, 8:20, 8:26, 9:23, 9:30, 10:12, 10:30, 10:41, 11:49, 12:33, 13:36, 14:18, 14:54, 15:49, 16:00, 16:35, 17:05, 17:44, 18:05, 18:42, 19:28, 20:20, 20:39

      Lake Toya to Toya station
      6:25, 6:55, 7:03, 7:39, 8:15, 8:56, 9:15, 9:25, 10:05, 11:10, 11:40, 11:55, 13:15, 13:44, 14:20, 14:35, 15:11, 15:50, 16:20, 16:41, 17:40, 19:30

      Link here:

      洞 爺 湖 温 泉 is Toyako Onsen
      洞 爺 駅 前 is Toya Station

  2. Hi,
    I stumbled upon your blogs and find them very informative. Do you know of any bus to take from toyaka onsen to sapporo instead taking a train? Where can I book the tickets. Thank you.

    1. Hello :)
      I think there are buses from Toyako Onsen to Sapporo.

      Link here:

      洞 爺 湖 温 泉 is Toyako Onsen
      札 幌 駅 前 is Sapporo Station

      I have not pre-book any buses that I took in Japan before. I had bought a ticket a couple of days before I travel though (but this is was in Takayama to Shirakawa-go, not in Hokkaido).

      Someone asked a question on pre-booking as well on tripadvisor.

      Also, i think you could ask the info counter when you reach Hokkaido. :)

  3. From far from noboribetsu to lake toya?

    1. Hi Amy - are you asking the distance from noboribetsu to lake Toya?
      Well, from google map it is around 50-60km, depending what route you take and +/- an hour if you drive..?
      Is that what you are asking?

  4. Hello,

    I came across your blog while planning my trip to Toyako. And I'm really glad I did.

    1. We will be staying at Hokkai Hotel (No. 14 on your map). Could you tell me where the Toyako Onsen Bus Terminal is on your map?

    2. We will have 2 big suitcases and I read somewhere that you have to climb up stairs to get to/from the platform at JR Toya Station. I don't know if that's the inbound or outbound route. The bus from the station to the onsen is not as frequent as I would like. If we miss one because we struggle with the stairs, we have to wait quite a while for the next one. According to the latest schedule I have for 2016.

    Thank you.


    1. Hi Arwee,

      1. My apologies that my "stitching" of the map was not good. If, however, you enlarge the map, Toyako Onsen Bus Terminal is just below Toyako Culture Centre. It is in between Toyako Culture Centre and Toya Green Hotel.

      2. I can't remember for sure and it could've changed since.
      Anyway, here goes...

      Here is the link to the set up of how JR Toya looks like, the usual smallish station, so no escalator or elevator.

      As you can see if the train arrives on platform 1, then no need to cross the overhead bridge, the other 2 platforms do.

      I've gone back to dig my photos, I don't have any photo/written record of me arriving in JR Toya but I have a photo of one departing.

      I took a train from JR Toya to Sapporo and it departs from platform 3.
      On the same photo, it indicates that a train that was going towards Hakodate departs from platform 1.
      Ltd Exp Hokuto trains on Sapporo --> Hakodate routes departs from Platform 1 on JR Toya.
      If you are travelling on this direction, then you could very well arrived on Platform 1 on JR Toya and don't need to carry your luggage on your arrival.
      So it very much depends on where you are travelling from to get to JR Toya.

      I hope this make sense :)

  5. Thank you very much for the detailed reply and thank you for taking the time to dig out your photo. I really appreciate it. =D