Tokachi River Jewelry Ice
A shimmering sight on Hokkaido's coast
Each winter, part of Hokkaido's coast is covered in a natural phenomenon colloquially called "jewelry ice," in which a beach is covered in smooth blocks of ice shining like diamonds in the sun. Jewelry ice is created when ice floes from the Tokachi River break apart at the river's mouth and wash up onto the beach. The sand polishes each block to a gem-like shine. From the warm gold of morning, to the clear blue of midday and the mesmerizing purple of evening, the ice shows many faces throughout the day. Though visiting the jewelry ice is technically a day at the beach, make sure to wear cold weather gear when visiting, as temperatures during the season can fall as low as -30 degrees Celsius (-22 degrees Fahrenheit). A rest house near the beach serves warm drinks and food for visitors. Visitors can enjoy jewelry ice from mid-January until late February.
How to get there
The JR Super Ozora express train connects Sapporo Station to Obihiro in just under three hours. Obihiro also has an airport with service from Tokyo for visitors who prefer to fly. Once in Obihiro, take a jewelry ice sightseeing bus or taxi for another hour to reach Toyokoro City's coastline.