Tucked in the lush forests of Biei in Hokkaido is the mystical Shirogane Aoiike, or The Blue Pond. It gets its water from the nearby Shirahige Falls which mixes with the aluminium from the cliff it flows through to create the unique blue tint the pond is famous for.
Aoiike’s stunning scenery is actually enhanced by the dead trees that are submerged in the pond. Depending on the weather and time of year, the pond’s colour changes from light blue to deep turquoise. It is brightest and bluest in spring and is most colourful in summer, when the blue is surrounded by green foliage and other colours of nature. By fall, the emerald green pond is surrounded by a contrasting red forest. Transiting into winter, the pond usually freezes over with a hint of cool blue.
This dreamy sight wasn’t created by the forces of nature. It was actually an accidental by-product of a dam that was created in 1988 at the Biei River to prevent the volcanic mud from Mt Tokachi – in case it erupted – from reaching the town of Biei.
Access: The Blue Pond (Aoiike) is a 20-minute drive from Biei Station along Prefectural Road 966. From the carpark (500 yen for parking), it is a 5-10 minute walk to the pond.
Address: Shirogane, Biei, Kamikawa District, Hokkaido 071-0235
Opening hours: Always open
Website: Official Website