Hakuba: Lake Aoki
Get There: Lake Aoki is about a 15-minute drive from central Hakuba — it’s the first of a trio of bodies of water.
Lake Aoki is a glorious place to pass a whole day at come green season. Given its lack of a proper public beach, you can be hard pressed to find a good spot to plonk your picnic, as many of the most ideal entry points have been snaked by paid campsites whose owners are unlikely to let you on their land unless you’re a guest. If you don’t mind swimming without a shore, you can park at a few places in the forest on the northern side of the lake and hack your way to the water through the forest, but if you want the ultimate chill spot, we suggest heading to one of the many SUP and kayak rental places that fringe the edge.
Our favourite is Aoki Lake Club and APC on the eastern side of the lake: a little wooden shack marked with a Swiss flag. Not only is the guy who runs it a mad chiller who doesn’t own a million other businesses in town, but he has built a beautiful terrace and pier out the front of his shop where you can wallow in the shallows and sip on a beverage whilst soaking in the immense beauty of the lake. You obviously also have to rent some sort of water device in order to be there, but it’s totally worth it, as Lake Aoki is enormous and fun to explore.