Lake Notoro

Lake Notoro

Travel Guide

Lake Notoro is a lagoon separated from the Sea of Okhotsk by a sandbar located at Abashiri in Hokkaido, and is one of seven inland sea-lakes on the coastline of Sea of Okhotsk. It has a large circumference of about 31km, with many scenic spots. Lake Notoro belongs to Abashiri Quasi-National Park and is specified as Wildlife Protection Area.

Lake Notoro is one of the only places in Japan with glasswort. The glasswort is green in color throughout most time of the year, but from late August to early October the colonies of glasswort growing along the shore change color, bathing the coast in a carpet of crimson, which is one of the best in Hokkaido.

Lake Notoro used to be a lake where fresh water and sea water mixed. But a dike was built, so now it is only a salt water lake. Anyone can hunt for wild clams here from April 15 to October 15 each year.

On the east side, the cape's cliffs rise about 40 to 50m, with a huge grazing area. It has impressive scenery with cattle grazing lazily. It is also a famous place for its setting sun and starry sky. Ice drifts against the coast in the winter, and visitors can enjoy various sights through the all seasons.

The Lake's name comes from "No Oro" (meaning place of the cape) in the Ainu language (language of the aborigines of northern Japan and Russia). The name originally indicated Cape Notoro, but it is said that this name came to be used for the lake, meaning "place near Cape Notoro."

Lake Notoro - Catpet of glasswort Lake Notoro Lake Notoro - Glasswort
Carpet of glasswort Lake Notoro Glasswort

Travel Advice


Glasswort is a smooth, fleshy, salt-tolerant plant common to the salt marshes of Rhode Island. The plant grows 4 to 20 inches tall, with succulent (fleshy), jointed, branching stems. Its jointed stems range in color from bright green to deep red. The leaves are scale-like formations along the segments of the stem. Glasswort is related to cacti, coming from the same order Caryophyllales, and has fleshy plump stems, resembling asparagus spears. These stems allow the plant to increase its water-holding capacity to survive in harsh, salty, and dry conditions. The flowers of the glasswort are small and green. In the fall, this plant turns bright crimson, adding dramatic beauty to the salt marshes it inhabits.

Lake Notoro is also an important port

Lake Notoro is not only the tourist attraction but it is also an important fishing port in Hokkaido. There are four ports in the lake which are Ubaranai, Futamigaoka, Notoro and Koguchi.

Lake Notoro is the second largest port of the amount of fish to catch in Hokkaido. The fish includes scallops, Hokkai shrimp, Okhotsk salmon, Saffron cod and so on. Lake Notoro produces 200 million of seeds of scallop every year and send to all Hokkaido, the amount reaches up to 13% of the total production in Hokkaido. Lake Notoro also produces 18,000 tons of grown scallops each year. The forest and undeveloped nature surrounds the lake to make a great number of plant plankton flow into the lake. The animal plankton eat the plant plankton to form the ecosystem, the ecosystem makes aquatic plants to thrive, forming the most suitable living environment for fish to survive.

Autumn Leaves

Lake Notoro is a spot to see autumn leaves. Please see Autum Leaves in Lake Notoro.



Address Ubaranai, Abashi-shi, Hokkaido
Phone 0152-44-5849 (Abashiri Tourism Assosiation)
Admission Free  
Hours Free time  
Closed Open 7 Days a Week
Duration 15 minutes
Getting There By Train
20 minutes ride by Abashiri Bus bound for Tokoro, Saroma or Nakayubetsu from JR Abashiri Station on the Sekihoku Honsen or Senmo Honsen to the Ubaranai bus stop, then walk approximately 10 minutes.

By Car
Take Hokkaido Expressway to Chitose exit and take National Highway route 36. It is approximately 25 kilometers 40 minutes from exit.
Parking Parking available

Attractions in Japan