All The More Beautiful Because Of The Cold! 5 Spectacular Winter Sights in Hokkaido
You can enjoy the nature in Hokkaido throughout the year, but it's especially beautiful in winter! Here are 5 places with a spectacular view in Hokkaido in winter.
1. The hills of Biei
This is a popular sightseeing place in Hokkaido where various crops are planted around the hilly terrain so it looks like patchwork. Many tourists visit especially in the early summer and enjoy the view of the terrain. In the winter, it's covered in snow and has an atmosphere different from the gorgeous spring and summer or even from the harvest season in autumn. You can gaze at the faraway, white-capped mountains, the snowy fields, and the clear, blue sky. There you'll find a solitary tree standing. The magical sight will leave you in awe so that you forget about the time passing by.
2. Kushiro Shitsugen
These are Japan's largest wetlands, created by the Kushiro River and its tributaries running through the eastern part of Hokkaido. This area is still pristine, and the ample wetlands are a valued habitat for various indigenous plants and animals such as the Japanese crane, one of the national treasures. The highlight of this area is the flat, horizontal scenery. The snowy, spectacular view continues beyond the range of one's sight, especially in winter when the air is clear. You can also fish for pond smelt in the lakes around the wetlands. Any pond smelt you catch can be eaten right then and there for a pleasant winter experience.
This is a lake with a circumference of 2.5km, located at the west foot of Mt. Meakandake in Akan National Park. It is a dammed lake created when the rivers became closed off by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Meakandake, and is known for being strongly acidic. It is sometimes called "the 5 colored lake" since the surface of the lake changes color depending on season or hour. Many tourists visit from spring to summer. In the winter, you cannot drive up to Onneto because the roads will be closed by snow, so you will have to walk to the forest road using equipment like snowshoes. The harder it is to reach it, the more beautiful it will look. You can enjoy the spectacular view of Onneto, Mt. Meakandake, and Akan Fuji surrounded by clear air and snow in silence, all by yourself.
Mt. Meakandake (left), Akan Fuji (right)
4. Frost flowers in Lake Akan
A frost flower is a phenomenon observed only in lakes in midwinter. it is called such because the the moisture in the air becomes crystallized on the frozen lake similar to hoar frost, and it gathers into a shape that looks like flowers. This is not a commonly observed phenomenon, however, since it can only be seen when various conditions are met such as a temperature as low as -15°C and little to no wind. Lake Akan is especially famous for frost flowers. They can be seen from December to the beginning of March, and the fragile yet beautiful sight is fascinating. Sometimes they break with just the slightest breeze.
5. Diamond dust
Diamond dust is a meteorological phenomenon that is a ground-level cloud composed of slowly falling tiny ice crystals. It can be observed often in the inner cities of Hokkaido like Asahikawa and Nayoro where it is especially cold, but it doesn't happen unless many climatic conditions are met, such as a temperature of -10°C or lower, at dawn with no clouds or wind, and with clear air that has more than 1km visibility. Since it's so rare, the sight of the diamond dust beautifully shining and falling in the morning sun will become a wonderful lifelong memory.
There are various spectacular views only available in Hokkaido in winter. Why not plan to visit these places?
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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