Tomamu Resort is now just a short distance from Sapporo thanks to the opening of the Doto Expressway in Hokkaido in 2011. Hoshino Resorts Tomamu is famous for its Unkai Terrace (unkai means “sea of clouds”), where guests can look down at a huge sea of clouds stretching out before them. I’ll give you the details of my first experience there!
"The Towers", Tomamu's Landmark Buildings
The Hoshino Resorts Tomamu occupies a huge area equal to that of 213 Tokyo Dome stadiums, and activities ranging from golf to skiing to swimming are available for guest enjoyment based on the season. Accommodation-wise, there’s the 36-story tall “The Tower” buildings, and the luxury hotel Risonare Tomamu. I stayed at “The Towers” hotel, featured in the picture above. The view was amazing, and the building itself had a comfortable design.
Well Connected by Roads and Busses
To access the massive resort’s restaurants and bath houses, guests can either ride busses or use the walkways. The bus schedule above is posted at the resort’s entrance, making it easy to figure out how to get around. There are a variety of restaurants on site that serve Hokkaido cuisine, so guests can choose whatever they like. You can even check out information about restaurants using the TV in your room.
Unwind at Kirin-no-yu Bath at Minamina Beach
In the middle of the resort’s forest lies Minamina Beach, Japan’s largest indoor wave pool. At night, it’s absolutely magical. Even with nobody in the pool, the waves continue to break gently along the shore.
The building houses more than just a pool. Here, you’ll also find Kirin-no-yu, an outdoor public bath. Despite not being an all natural hot spring, it’s still a good quality bath. The large, open air bath looks over the forest, which stretches as far as the eye can see, giving guests a feeling of pure freedom. The nighttime view is especially wonderful as the sky shows all of its stars in a display that you definitely can’t get in the city. Even though it’s a bit troublesome get there by bus, it’s worth it.
Kirin-no-Yu Adults: 800JPY Children: 500JPY (Be sure to check official website for hours of operation)
Early Bird Catches the Worm
For the next day, be sure to set your alarm for 4:30AM! Tomamu is most famous for its sea of clouds, and you can get relevant weather information starting at 4:30AM on your in-room TV. On the day that I was there, it said that there would be some clouds, so I hurried and took the 4:45AM bus to the gondola to have a look from the 1088m high Mt. Tomamu.
Gondola Pricing Adult: 1800JPY Elementary School Student: 1200JPY Dogs: 500JPY
Gondola operating hours vary based on season, so make sure to check the official website.
The Unkai Terrace: Award-Winning Tourist Destination
The sea of clouds effect is a natural phenomenon that can only be seen when just-right weather conditions combine perfectly with Tomamu’s unique geography. From June to September, there’s about a 30-40% chance that the effect will occur. It occurs most often between 5:00AM and 8:30AM. There’s nothing to rely on but luck, and the day I was there the only a partial sea of clouds occurred. However, even to be able to see this is considered lucky. Many guests make repeat visits, having not been able to see the clouds their first time. To get an idea of what the sea of clouds truly looks like, be sure to have a look at the resort’s website. Even if you get unlucky and the weather is too nice for clouds, this is a great spot to take a look at Mount Tokachiporoshiri and the Hidaka Mountain Range that it lies in.
The sea of clouds was the Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) “One More Visit, One More Time” Awards Grand Prize recipient, and for good reason! No Hokkaido adventure is complete without a visit.
Hoshino Resorts Tomamu Address: Nakatomamu Shimukappu, Yufutsu District, Hokkaido Prefecture 079-2204 Japan TEL: +81 167-58-1111