Chitose, Marukoma Onsen

The weather’s getting colder and we’ve gotten some snow. This usually puts me in mind of going to onsens.

I love going to Lake Shikotsu because we are quite close. This year, we went and stayed a very old establishment, Marukoma Onsen. I believe that they are one of the oldest onsens in the area. We arrived in the evening as we left home right after my husband finished work. It took us about an hour to get there, with me driving slowly.

Right away, they took us to our room and had dinner ready. We chose to have our dinner in the room instead of going to the dining room. It was definitely more relaxing that way.

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Dinner was a mix of Japanese and non-Japanese food. There was lots of small dishes made from vegetables and local ingredients. And of course, there was sashimi and hot-pot thrown in. Lastly, it was topped off with a strawberry mousse dessert.

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After dinner, we headed down to the bath. The unique thing about Marukoma is that there is a hot spring that directly connects to Lake Shikotsu. So you take your bath, walk about five minutes in a covered wooden walkway, out in the cold, in just a yukata, and go to the outdoor bath on the lake’s edge. This was at night, around 8pm. I attempted to do it but quit when I heard suspicious rustling. I am terrified of bears so I thought I didn’t want to risk meeting any that night so I just went back to the regular rotenburo. I figured there would be another opportunity in the morning.

We got back to our room and of course, the dishes were cleared out and the futons were laid out for the night. I got to enjoy a nice cup of steaming green tea before bed, too.

We were lucky enough to have a room that had a view of the lake. I guess because it wasn’t as crowded that day. I believe you can also request to have a lake view room when you make your booking.

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I knew I wanted to see the sunrise and the hotel had even provided specific information on when the sunrise would be in the morning.

I watched the sunrise from our window and it was quite beautiful. I was worried about the clouds, but luckily I was able to see partially through that small opening.

I didn’t know at that time that there was actually a dedicated room for sunrise and sunset viewing at the hotel. It wasn’t until we were going for our morning soak that I found out about it 🙁 Oh, well. Maybe next time. But the hotel has a room where you can sit in comfy chairs and leisurely watch the sunrise from a nice, large window. It is attached to the rest area that is usually used to cool down after your bath.

This time, I was able to actually brave the cold and went for a soak in the lakeside bath. It wasn’t as good as I expected because it was low tide and there was still too much seaweed in the water. I quickly went back to the regular outdoor bath.

After breakfast, we took a walk outside before heading back home.

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It was a nice and short stay. The water definitely relaxes you and we both felt refreshed after the soak.

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