Our flight from Hong Kong to Sapporo took four hours; Japan was an hour ahead of Hong Kong so we were now nine hours ahead of the UK. We were collected from the airport and the drive to the Lake House took another two hours through beautiful country – we passed an extinct volcano, the Shiribetsu. That part of Hokkaido was very fertile, due to volcanic ash streaming down onto the plain several hundred thousand years ago.
We were staying at the Lake House at Toyako owned by Rita and Brian’s son, Jonny. It was a nine bed roomed 1980’s timber built house on the shore Lake Toya and set in seven acres of parkland. It was used as a ski lodge in the winter and a centre for water sports, hiking and golf during the warmer months. For five months of the year the area would be covered in deep snow, the best snow in the world, we were told.
We went for a short walk along a path by the lake