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Snapshot: Exploring the Blue Pond in Biei, Hokkaido

Tags: blue pond biei

It’s a vision of Blue, with the hues’ vividness differing one shade or two depending on the amount of sun rays hitting the water. Also known as the Blue Pond, this water feature in Biei, Hokkaido came about as a result of works carried out on the nearby Biei River following the 1988 eruption of Mount Tokachi. To protect the Biei town from the overflowing of volcanic mudflows, a dam was erected on the Biei River, with the Blue Pond, one of many, forming as a by-product of the change in the river dynamics.

The shade of blue at the Biei Pond depends largely on the weather and season.
The shade of blue at the Biei Pond depends largely on the weather and season.

Its current shape and form have evolved since its accidental formation, and its gorgeous shades of colors are derived from natural sources. The waters of the Biei River are streamed down from the cliffs where the Shirahige Falls flow. The waters of the Shirogane Hot Springs from Mount Tokachi mix with the aluminum from the cliff to reach a bluish tint that only brightens or deepens depending on weather and seasons. Other elements like sulfur and lime play their part in the mesmerising hues of the pond. These substances make their way into the pond’s waters and whiten the rocks resting at its bottom, providing the blank canvas to the pond’s waters to shine.

The Biei River, with the waters flowing from cliffs where the Shirahige Falls flow.
The Biei River, with the waters flowing from cliffs where the Shirahige Falls flow.

What adds to the Biei Pond’s allure are also the partly submerged trees that envelop the pond. These trees are known as the Japanese Larch and Silver Birch trees, while some are a lush green, there’s a substantial number that has withered, which strangely add to the stunning sight of the Biei Pond.

When to visit:

It really depends on what shade of blue you prefer. For a bright cobalt blue, then the period between May to June, the turn of Spring to Summer, makes the perfect time to visit. The weather during this period makes it ideal for photography, with clear blue skies and lack of rain. On some days, the waters here may be so still that it offers a stunning reflection and a great photo op.

Otherwise, the pond changes into a dreamy emerald at the hint of Spring, when melting snow and rainwater infuse with the ponds waters. While the waters remain an intense shade of blue, autumn injects a pop of orange/red in its surrounding trees, creating a vibrant picture.

If you love yourself a frosty pale blue, year end is the best time to visit. The white withering, snow-covered trees and the pastel blue of the pond transport you to a dreamy, fairy-tale like landscape. It’s almost as though you’ve entered the frosty world of Narnia, when it was controlled by the white witch.

I visited in Summer, and was treated to the most beautiful shade of Turquoise.
I visited in Summer, and was treated to the most beautiful shade of Turquoise.

How to get there:

There are tour buses from Sapporo that visitors can take to visit the pond. Alternatively, you can always do a self-drive here while touring central Hokkaido.





Tags:  Hokkaido

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