The Two Mountains: Showa Shinzan & Usuzan

By Cubie - October 27, 2012

Toyako and Showa Shinzan
Showa Shinzan is one of Japan's youngest mountains. The mountain was  named "Showa New Mountain", according to the contemporary reign of Emporer Hirohito, in the Showa Period (1926-1989).
Showa-Shinzan. Can you spot the photographer sculpture at the bottom?
 The site was originally a local farmer's field. The ground was lifted gradually after earthquake and reached its present height in 2 years time. Showa Shinzan is a volcanic lava dome in Shikotsu-Toya National Park, standing next to Mount Usu (Usuzan).

Showa Shinzan's older neighbour, Usuzan is an active volcano, and has erupted four times since 1900. Usuzan's eruption in 1944-1945 has lead to the creation of Showa Shinza. Usuzan had erupted twice after that, once in August 1977 and it's last eruption in March 2000.

Both mountains can be viewed via Usuzan Ropeway.
Round trip tickets for adult: 1,450 yen and it departs every 15 minutes. Last departure time is about 4-5ish in the evening, depending on the season. Also, please remember to check out their website to get a 10% discount voucher. In any case if you forgot, if you are lucky, you might find the vouchers in Toyako Onsen Tourist Information centre. I forgot to print it out and I found it in the tourist centre. How lucky but I forgot to present the vouchers when I got the ropeway tickets! *bonk self*

At one point I was having a blond moment, thinking that the next departure time was in 45 minutes! Of course I was wrong, it departs every 15 minutes, scheduled at every quarter of the hour. Haha.

Sorry I have been harping on this, but if you are driving, then you won't be binded to the bus or train schedules. Public transportations are not very regular, unfortunately. There are only 4 bus that travel between the two places.

Schedule taken from Toyako Onsen information centre in September 2012
Usuzan Ropeway departs from 火山村 (Kazan Mura), volcano village. There's a eruption experience room, as well as restaurants and souvenir shops.

Great views to greet you right after getting off the gondola! Actually, great view all the way!
There's water, and there's mountain :)
After spending time oogling admiring at Showa Shinzan, must make time to see Usuzan.

You'll need to exercise your legs a little to get to Crater Basin Observation Deck
Gin’numa Great Crater
The more rest and relax way to see Showa Shinzan and Usuzan was taking the ropeway and get to the observation deck for both. If you want to do a bit more, you can do the Outer Rim Boardwalk. The round trip is said to take about 2 hours. Oh well, if you walk out, you'll have to retrace your steps to get back.

The Outer Rim Boardwalk circles the Gin’numa Great Crater which formed during the 1977 eruption of the summit. It is the largest of the existing craters. My mother was not too thrill about me wanting to do the trail as not many people walk it. I didn't finish the whole walk as I was worry that I'll miss the last bus and mom was waiting for me at the Crater Basin Observation Deck. Personally, I think it is worth doing the walk. Don't miss it if you can, though a word of warning, there were 600 odd steps that you will need to tackle.

Don't say I didn't warn you about the staircases!
and more staircase

and even more! More pictures to make up for the effort of climbing those stairs

There's life under the staircase... actually I was resting from climbing those staircase :P
So there you go, I love this place, will love it even more if I managed to finish the whole Outer Rim Boardwalk :(

Side note: Alright, I should get stock up on chillies for my sambal experiement :P

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  1. I wrote a comment earlier but it don't seem to be posted so i wrote another again. Sorry for having a double posting on the comments if the earlier is posted.
    Happen to pass by your blog when i was searching for the way to Lake Toya. Your posts are a great help to me as this coming up hokkaido trip is my first and a total maze to me. Will need some time for me to digest them all.

    1. Hello :)
      Thank you for re-posting your comment. Hope the posts help in your trip planning though they are a little dated. Good luck and great travels! ^^

  2. Thank you!! Have been to Tokyo for many times but didnt have a chance to take their bus services.
    Is their bus service confusing when comes to payment in Hokkaido?
    And just wondering if you have been to Mt Hakodate and Mt Moiwa. I'm trying to go for one of them for the sunset and night view.

    1. You can read here on how to take pay for the bus

      It is exactly like that when I was there.

      I haven't been to either unfortunately - in reference to Mt Hakodate and Mt Moiwa but i find very handy (if you haven't been using it yet, else disregard me) ^^

  3. Thank you so much for the guide link!
    i do use japan guide as a guide too but would like to know the guide from the "real-life experience" and that is why blog post on travel comes in really handy for me. ^^

    1. Ah... yes, I do that too..

      About the changing machine next to the bus driver to get small change, it only works for 1,000 yen. I had a 5,000 yen on my way to Ashidake (to pay for 2 person's fare), the bus driver didn't have any change on him so he told me to change it at the shop while he waited for me. So all was good ;)

    2. Got it! Shall look forward to this new journey! ^^