Snowshoe tours in Kaminoko-ike
Deep in eastern Hokkaido’s forests near Lake Mashu is the stunning Kaminoko-ike pond, famed for its stunning blue waters caused by volcanic minerals reflecting blue light. At 220m in circumference, picturesque tree trunks submerged in the pond remain intact due to the water's year-round temperature of 8ºC. Fed by a natural spring, it almost never freezes over, so you can visit even in winter when the forest is blanketed in white.
A snowshoe tour through the woods is a great way to witness Kaminoko-ike’s indigo blue colour against a backdrop of perfectly white snow. There are half-day tours, departing from the nearby town of Kiyosato, where you can also learn about nature as guides teach you how to recognise animal tracks in the snow. You may even encounter wild deer, foxes or Hokkaido’s famous red-crowned cranes dancing in the snow.
Some itineraries include an early-morning snowshoe walk on the shores of Lake Mashu – the source of Kaminoko-ike’s water – where you can see the natural phenomena of “dust diamonds,” when tiny ice crystals drift in the still morning air.
Hokkaido has many charming spots in winter; visit https://en.visit-hokkaido.jp/ for more.