Surrounded on all sides by lush forest and untouched by human civilization, the heart-shaped Lake Toyoni is a hidden gem among Japan’s many tourist attractions.
Until a few years ago, Lake Toyoni was virtually unknown to most Japanese, but a popular TV spot with an aerial view of the heart-shaped natural wonder made it a popular tourist spot practically overnight. The internet is full of digitally altered heart-shaped lakes, but Toyoni is one of the few, if not the only one in the world who actually has this shape. So when people found out it was real, they flocked to the island of Hokkaido to see the natural wonder for themselves.
Originally known as Kamuito or “A Swamp That A God Lives In”, the 30-acre Emerald Lake finally got its current name in honor of the nearby mountain. Toyonike. Nowadays most people know it as “Heart Lake” because of its unique shape.
Seeing Lake Toyoni from the air is always a breathtaking experience, but the best time to take in the breathtaking aerial views is in mid-autumn when the green forest around it changes to various shades of red and brown. A local company is offering a helicopter ride over the lake in October.
While flying in the air is the most popular way to experience Japan’s heart-shaped lake, some people prefer the serenity of its shores. To reach the peaceful, emerald green waters, tourists must hike into a deep forest that is part of a nature reserve.
For more breathtaking natural wonders, visit Tuscany’s unique limestone basins and Russia’s Big Stone River.