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  • “Ice Art” in Eastern Hokkaido

Snow, ice and light create
an artistic view unique to winter in eastern Hokkaido

Winter in eastern Hokkaido shows a different look from summer.The way to enjoy each spot changes as the seasons go around.
The superb view, altered by the weather and each period of time, is a once-in-a-lifetime thing that you won’t see again.
The atmosphere which changes every second of the day will make you experience the mystery of nature through time.
Jewelry ice, which glitters like diamonds, and beautifully blooming frost flowers are natural phenomena of ice rare in the world that can be encountered just for a short time in severe winter.These are the creation of nature in an extremely cold climate of below -20 degrees Celsius, and these artistic scenes cannot be seen anywhere else in the world.

Toyokoro in TokachiJewelry Ice

Jewelry Ice
Jewelry Ice Jewelry Ice

Incredible scenery shining like jewelries
Natural masterpiece
changes its face every moment

A natural phenomenon in which the ice covering the Tokachi River flows out into the Pacific Ocean, and chunks of ice rounded by the flow get washed up on Otsu Beach by the mouth of the river. The ice crystals shine in various colors hourly in day such as the time sun rises and during a day of blue sky. The season all depends on the weather of the year, but this Jewelry Ice shows up usually around mid-January to late February. The temperature sometimes goes down below -30 degrees Celsius, so make sure you have sufficient protection against cold.

Location: Otsu Beach, Otsu-motomachi Toyokoro-cho, Hokkaido
Phone: +81-15-578-7202 (Toyokoro Tourism Bureau)
Access: 1 hour from Tokachi-Obihiro Airport by car

Guided tour to enjoy Jewelry Ice

It’s a guided Jewelry Ice tour departing from downtown Obihiro. There’re two tours a day, morning & day time, so that you get to observer Jewelry Ice shining in the morning sun or the sunlight. You can get fine local sweets as souvenirs at the end of the tour.

Ice Guided Tour / Sunrise Tour, Day Tour
+81-155-66-4006 (Samurai Produce Inc.)
2020/01/11 – 2020/03/08
8,000 JPY per person (Including insurance, guide fee, rental item fee)
* Booking required at least 3 days in advance
(Booking 1 day before is acceptable if the tour has been already scheduled.)
Meeting Time
Sunrise Tour - 4:30 AM, Day Tour – 1:00 PM
Meeting Point
Hotels near JR Obihiro Station, east exit at JR Obihiro Station
(Day Tour only)
Tour Hour
Approx. 5 hours 30 min

Lake AkanFrost Flowers

Frost Flowers
Frost Flowers Frost Flowers

Breathtaking view of
fine ice flowers blooming
Ice crystals unique to crater lakes

They’re also called “Winter Flowers.” Frost crystals form little by little as the lake freezes, and they look as if thousands of flowers blooming. This phenomenon is unique to lakes in craters.
Lake Akan gets covered with ice due to radiant cooling usually around December and March, and Frost Flowers only bloom on the days when the temperature gets below -15 degrees Celsius with no wind blowing. The ice covering the surface of the lake can be thin at some spots, so be sure to go along with the tour guide. The contact information of Akan Tourism Association is as follows.

Address: 2-6-20 Akanko-onsen Akan-cho Kushiro, Hokkaido
Phone: +81-154-67-3200 (Akan Tourism Association)
Access: 1 hour from Tancho Kushiro Airport by car
What makes Frost Flowers?
Frost Flowers

Frost Flowers bloom on the ice surface of frozen lakes and rivers. The water vapor from the lace surface gets crystalized in the evening and night. As the temperature falls past midnight, those ice crystals grow as big as the size of your palm by the morning. In addition, some particular weather conditions have to meet: no wind blowing, the temperature below -15 degrees Celsius, and no snow on the surface. The best season to encounter Frost Flowers is December, and the probability is said to be only 30%.

The Kushiro RiverDiamond Dust

Diamond Dust
Diamond Dust Diamond Dust

Phenomenon with a combination
of several weather conditions
Sparkles in the sunlight

Diamond Dust is a natural phenomenon where small water vapor in the air gets cooled and forms small crystals. It is also called “Angel Whisper.” This phenomenon occurs in the morning on a remarkably sunny day when the temperature is below -10 degrees Celsius. Since the temperature in eastern Hokkaido goes lower than -15 degrees Celsius, you have more chances to see Diamond Dust than any other places. Take a walk in the early morning to view Diamond Dust shining beautifully in the sunlight.

Location: Around the Kushiro River in Kushiro through Teshikaga-cho

Guided tour to enjoy Diamond Dust

Canoeing tour down the Kushiro River flowing out of Lake Kussharo.
In winter, you can view “Kearashi, frost smoke”, “Frost Fog”, and “Diamond Dust” if lucky.

Winter Canoeing in the Kushiro River
+81-15-484-2455 (Atreyu)
2019/12/01 – 2020/03/31
7,500 JPY per person for a group of 2 or more (Tax not included)
* Booking required at least 1 day in advance by 9:00 PM
Meeting Time
Starting Time:6:30 AM (Atreyu guests only), 8:45 AM, 10:30 AM, 1:30 PM
Meeting Point
Atreyu 475-56 Kussharo-genya Teshikaga-cho, Hokkaido
Tour Hour
Approx. 1 hour 30 min

BetsukaiIce Horizon

Ice Horizon
Ice Horizon Ice Horizon

Boundless winter wonderland!
Walk on the surface of frozen sea

Notsuke Peninsula is located in Betsukai, the east side of Hokkaido. It has recently drawn attention because of its atmosphere resembling “Salar de Uyuni (Uyuni Salt Lake).” Notsuke Peninsula in winter seems to be totally another world where white plains stretch to the horizon. This extraordinary scenery appears when the Notsuke bay is entirely frozen, and the endless sea turns into Ice Horizon. It is strictly prohibited to step in to this area without a guide. Take the following guided tour.

Address: 63 Notsuke Betsukai-cho, Hokkaido
Phone: 81-153-82-1270 (Notsuke Peninsula Nature Center),
Access: 50 min from Nemuro Nakashibetsu Airport by car

Guided tour to enjoy Ice Horizon

Guided snowshoe tour in the boundless winter wonderland. You can encounter Ezo deer and fox walking on the Ice Horizon if lucky.
One-hour short walking tour and 40-min sledding tour are also available.

Todowara, Ice Horizon Walk Tour
+81-153-82-1270(Notsuke Peninsula Nature Center)
mid-January to early-March, 2020
(Period may vary due to the freezing condition)
5,250 JPY per person, 3,500 JPY per person for a group of 2 or more (Including Snowshoe rental fee)
* Booking required (Only phone booking is accepted 3 days before the tour)
Meeting Time
Starting Time: 6:30 AM, 12:30 PM
Meeting Point
63 Notsuke Betsukai-cho, Hokkaido Notsuke Peninsula Nature Center
Tour Hour
Approx. 2 hours

All around Eastern HokkaidoSoft Rime, Frost Fog


Vast world of white
Fantastic mystery of nature

Soft Rime is a natural phenomenon that supercooled fog is sprayed on trees and gets quickly frozen to crystals in a fibrous form. On the other hand, Frost Fog appears only in the early morning when there’s no wind blowing and the temperature is below -20 degrees Celsius. Water vapor rising from the lake surface adheres to trees and turns into ice. These phenomena are both quite rare to occur since several weather conditions have to meet.

  • Tokachi Farm,
    Tokachi White Birch Avenue

    8-1 Komabanamiki Otofuke-cho, Hokkaido
    +81-155-44-2131 (National Livestock Breeding Center Tokachi Farm)
    50 min from Tokachi-Obihiro Airport by car
  • The Akan River

    Around Otanoshike and Akanko-onsen Kushiro, Hokkaido
    1 hour from Tancho Kushiro Airport by car (Takimi Bridge)
  • Lake Akan

    Akanko-onsen Akan-cho Kushiro, Hokkaido
    +81-154-67-3200 (Akan Tourism Association & Community Development Organization)
    1 hour 30 min from Tancho Kushiro Airport by car(Akanko-onsen)
  • Kawayu Onsen

    Kawayu-onsen Teshikaga-cho, Hokkaido
    +81-15-482-2200 (Lake Mashu Tourism Association)
    1 hour 45 min from Tancho Kushiro Airport by car
  • Lake Mashu

    Teshikaga-genya Teshikaga-cho, Hokkaido(Lake Mashu 1st Observatory)
    +81-15-482-2200 (Lake Mashu Tourism Association)
    1 hour 30 min from Tancho Kushiro Airport by car

Lake KussharoOmiwatari, ice crack phenomenon

御神渡り現象 御神渡り現象

Omiwatari, ice crack phenomenon of
the biggest scale in Japan,
filled with mysteries of nature

Omiwatari means “Pass of God” in Japanese. After the lake gets frozen, the ice plate repeats to shrink and swell as the temperature changes. This consequently causes generated cracks to swell up and form Omiwatari. This phenomenon is unique to places such as Lake Kussharo where the temperature difference is extreme. With a maximum length of 10km (about 6.2 miles) and a height of about 2m (about 6’6 feet), the scale is one of the largest in Hokkaido. The way this crack rises with a scrunch is such a mystery. The way this art of cracks emerges making a scrunch sound is mysterious. It can usually be seen from late January to late February around Sunayu, the east side of Lake Kussharo.

Location: Sunayu Kussharo-kohan Teshikaga-cho, Hokkaido
Phone: +81-15-482-2200 (Lake Mashu Tourism Association)
Access: 1 hour 45 min from Tancho Kushiro Airport by car
How to enjoy Omiwatari phenomenon

Omiwatari is one of ice crack phenomena. When a lake surface is entirely frozen, it generates cracks. These cracks construct a pass of bulge by swelling up and emerging as temperature rises. According to the Ainu legend, this is said to be an act of the god who controls the coldness, and the bulge is called “Pass of God.” Omiwatari creates a resonance sound as it emerges; it sometimes keeps making the noise all night long around Lake Kussharo.

Lake MashuLake Mashu Frozen Lake Mashu

Lake Mashu Frozen Lake Mashu
Lake Mashu Frozen Lake Mashu Lake Mashu Frozen Lake Mashu

Only highly transparent lake can create
this sapphire blue glow.

Lake Mashu is the most transparent lake in Japan. It’s said this lake does not freeze because the depth, about 211m (about 692 ft) at the maximum, prevents the water temperature from falling; however, the surface gets frozen once every few years in severe winter. The lake surface beautifully glows sapphire blue, especially right before it gets frozen. The best way to observe this scenery is the snowshoe tour from the 1st observatory toward the 3rd observatory in the early morning. If you’re lucky, you get to see Frost Fog, frozen water vapor on the trees.

Location: Teshikaga-genya Teshikaga-cho, Hokkaido
(Lake Mashu 1st Observatory)
Phone: +81-15-482-2200 (Lake Mashu Tourism Association)
Access: 1 hour 30 min from Tancho Kushiro Airport by car

Guided tour to enjoy Frozen Lake Mashu

A walking tour on the outer rim of Lake Mashu while looking down the magnificent view. It lets you walk in the area where you can’t enter in summer, and it also gives you a splendid experience surrounded by Kussyaro Caldera, Mt. Oakan, and Konsen Plain. You might be able to meet wild animals if you’re lucky. Tour contents vary depending on the operators. Check more details on the following website.

Lake Mashu Snowshoe Tour
late-December to late-March (Period may vary due to the snow condition)
8,000 JPY and up per person, 5,500 JPY and up per person for a group of 2 or more
* Booking required
Meeting Time & Point
Vary depending on the operator
Meeting Point
1 hour 30 min

TsuruiKearashi, Frost Smoke

Kearashi, Frost Smoke
Kearashi, Frost Smoke Kearashi, Frost Smoke

In the early morning
in freezing cold winter
Dream-like atmosphere where
fog covers the entire water surface

Tsurui is known as the habitat of Tancho Cranes, designated as a special natural monument of Japan. Otowa Bridge, over the Setsuri River, is popular as an observation spot of Tancho Cranes, and it’s also a nice place to view Kearashi. It appears when cold air flows into rivers and lakes, and vapor from the water surface steeply gets chilled. Besides the weather, the difference of the air temperature and the water temperature has to be over 15 degrees Celsius for this to occur. It creates an illusion as if warm steam were rising on the surface of the water.

Location: Higashi 7-sen Kita Setsuri-genya Tsurui-mura, Hokkaido
(Otowa Bridge)
Phone: +81-154-64-2114 (Industry Promotion Division, Tsurui Village Office)
Access: 30 min from Tancho Kushiro Airport by car (Otowa Bridge)
How to enjoy Kearashi and Red-crowned cranes, Tancho
Kearashi, Frost Smoke

The Setsuri River is one of Red-crowned cranes’ habitats. The bridge over the river, Otowa Bridge, is filled with photographers seeking for the best shot of Tancho Cranes during midwinter.
Sometimes you can enjoy observing both Tancho Cranes, Kearashi, and you can even see the amazing scenery where everything is being orange-colored right after a sunrise. There’s some distance from Tancho Cranes, so you should bring telephoto lens to shoot. Make sure to turn off the flash so that cranes won’t get upset. Also please have thoughtful consideration to others since this place is packed.

Kamishihoro in TokachiIce Bubbles

Ice Bubbles
Ice Bubbles Ice Bubbles

A superb view that can only be seen until
the lake is covered with snow
Bubbles draw beautiful patterns
on the frozen lake

Air bubbles, which gushes up from the bottom of the lake, are trapped in layers in the ice. Looking into the bubbles scattered in the deep and dark lake makes you feel as if you were in space surrounded by millions of stars in space. This incredibly mystic sight gets covered with snow sooner, so the chance to see is quite limited. The lake surface can be slippery like a skating rink, so make sure you put on cleated shoes not to fall down.

Location: Nukabira-gensenkyo Kamishihoro-cho, Hokkaido (Lake Nukabira)
Phone: +81-1564-4-2261 (Higashitaisetsu Nature Guide Center)
Access: 1 hour 30 min from Tokachi-Obihiro Airport by car
How to enjoy Ice Bubbles
Ice Bubbles

Ice Bubbles are pockets of gas, such as methane gas emitted by bacteria, which gushes up from the bottom of the lake and gets sealed in the ice. The best place to see is just where you go down to the lake on foot from the parking lot near Gonosawa Bridge.(MAP)It is allowed to enter into the lake from early January to early March. You can see Ice Bubbles only for a short period of time before it starts snowing, check the conditions of the lake and snow with “Higasitaisetsu Nature Guide Center” in advance. Once you get on the frozen lake, watch your step because ice around big gas pockets might be thin.

Shikaoi in TokachiShikaoi in Tokachi

Shikaoi in Tokachi
Shikaoi in Tokachi Shikaoi in Tokachi

Kotan, a village made of snow
& ice appears on Lake Shikaribetsu
in the midwinter

This magical village made of snow and ice, Shikaribetsu Kotan, emerges when Lake Shikaribetsu, located at the highest altitude in Hokkaido, is completely frozen. Bars and chapel are made of highly transparent ice blocks cut out from the lake, and it’s hard to describe how beautiful they are. Drinks with a handmade ice glass are exceptionally awesome, and the only hot bath on ice in the world with 100% fresh hot spring gives you such relaxing time with breathtaking views.

Location: Shikaribetsu-kohan Shikaoi-cho, Hokkaido
Phone: +81-156-69-8181 (Lake Shikaribetsu Nature Center)
Hour of Hot Spring on Ice: Mixed gender (6:00 AM – 6:00 PM *bathing suit allowed)
Male (6:00 AM – 8:00 PM), Female (8:00 PM – 10:00 PM)
Hour of Ice Café & Bar: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Period: 2020/01/25 – 2020/03/22
Access: 1 hour 20 min from Tokachi-Obihiro Airport by car
How to enjoy Shikaribetsu Kotan
Shikaoi in Tokachi

The main igloo in the village is an ice café during a day and turns into a bar at night. There’re counter bars, tables, and private rooms inside the igloo. It should be hard to believe, but it’s relatively warm inside even when the temperature outside is below the freezing point. It has variety of soft drinks, hot drinks, and alcohol for 500 yen or more. How about making your own ice glass? (10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, 1,500 yen with one drink) You can make an ice glass in 30 minutes by carving a cubic ice with a special chisel.

Explore the winter wonderland
by “Eastern Hokkaido Express Bus!”

Eastern Hokkaido Express Bus

“Eastern Hokkaido Express Bus” is a sightseeing bus service that runs from September to mid-November, and from late January to early March. The routes connect airports, tourism spots, cities, and hotels in eastern Hokkaido. The service is available on 12 different routes. Some of the routes include free time to look around attractions.
Booking is required at least 7 days in advance. (Depending on the available seats left, you may be able to book a seat 2 days in advance.)

2020/01/25 – 2020/03/08 every day *may vary depending on the routes
Terms of use
Limited to the guest of the appointed hotels only
How to book
Online or at the following office
ooking and Contact
Express Bus Booking Center (White Bear Family Inc. Sapporo Office)
Phone: +81-11-806-0212
(Mon. – Sat. 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM *office closed on Sundays and Japanese national holidays)WEB