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A liquid sapphire set deep in a Hokkaido forest

On the edge of Lake Mashu near the town of Kiyosato in eastern Hokkaido is a rare natural phenomenon—a transparent yet luminously blue pond called Kaminoko-ike, situated deep in the forest, with fallen trees submerged in its waters.

Don't Miss

  • The subtly shifting colors of the pond's blue waters
  • The sights and sounds of untamed Hokkaido wilderness

How to Get There

Kaminoko-ike Pond is only accessible by car. It is a 50-minute drive from Nakashibetsu Airport or an hour from Memanbetsu Airport.

From the town of Kiyosato, drive 25 kilometers south towards Lake Mashu/Nakashibetsu. From Yoroushi Onsen, drive 23 kilometers north toward Kiyosato/Shari.

When coming from the south, take note that the last two kilometers consist of a bumpy unpaved road into the forest. And access may be limited in winter due to snow.

Quick Facts

Kaminoko-ike Pond looks shallow but is actually five meters deep

The pond's waters are replenished with 12,000 tons of spring water daily

The water is a constant 8 degrees centigrade, preventing the submerged trees from decomposing

A gift from the gods

Kaminoko-ike Pond, literally meaning “child of the gods,” gets its name from an Ainu legend, which says that its waters came from the nearby Lake Mashu , the lake of the gods.

And there is something mystical about Kaminoko-ike Pond. The crystal-clear water tricks your senses into thinking the pond is much shallower than it actually is. The white volcanic ash sitting at the bottom of the pond reflects back blue light from the sun, resulting in the intense color.

Lights, camera, action

Take your time strolling around the pond to appreciate its subtle beauty and changes fully. Intense sunlight shining on the pond turns the waters aquamarine and emerald green.

Weak sunlight in winter turns the pond indigo blue against a backdrop of perfectly white snow. Red-spotted Dolly Varden fish dart between the submerged trees. The lake is very photogenic, so have your camera at the ready.

Surrounding attractions worth checking out

Don't miss seeing the leaping cherry salmon at Sakura Falls from late June to late August. Uramashu Observatory, which is quieter than the touristy west side, and a great spot to view Lake Mashu . Finally, enjoy some well-earned rest and relaxation with a hot soak at renowned Yoroushi Onsen, just 23 kilometers away.

* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.

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