Post volcano eruption ghost town – Lake Toya

Lake Toya is a hot spring town in Hokkaido, home to some very strange volcanic activity. The nearby volcano, Mount Usu, has an eruption every 30 to 50 years and the most recent was in 2000. The town was evacuated, with a new mountain being created by the eruption, causing roads, buildings and more to be destroyed, deformed or submerged. The whole event, and the other eruption in 1977, create a really fascinating ghost town, or ‘ghost mountain’. All is quiet now though, and it’s possible to visit the area safely and see what the eruptions did to this hot spring town. Here are some highlights!

The disaster monuments of the ‘Konpira Craters’ are only a minute walk from the main town. The mud flows from the 2000 volcanic eruptions damaged a local public bath, but the main structures are still there. The first flows are half submerged in mud, and visitors are free to walk around the buildings.

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The 2000 eruptions also carried away a bridge!


Another building, an apartment building, was also abandoned due to the 2000 eruptions. The first floor would be pretty much inaccessible because of all the mud, and the floors above seem to have taken a lot of damage. No entry!

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Published by Matthew Baxter

Japan travel writer and onsen addict