March 22, 13 | Iwasaki
This mushroom-like sculpture, which seems to be growing directly out of the snow, is an annual sight at Lake Nukabira. It’s called “Mushroom Ice” and it can be seen from February through the first half of March. This year it was even featured in national newspapers, increasing its fame a bit. A few years ago, visitors actually came to pick the rare winter “mushrooms.”
Of course these aren’t mushrooms growing out of the snow. They’re actually stumps on the bottom of the lake. During the winter, the water in the lake is depleted by tens of centimeters everyday for local hydro-electric power. As the water level goes down, so does the ice on the top. Once the water gets down low enough, you can see the stumps on the bottom of the lake catch the ice and wear it like a hat.
The mushroom ice changes greatly every year depending on the thickness of the ice, the level of the water and other conditions during the winter. This year there was a quite a full crop so you might still be able to catch a few. If you have a chance, try to make it to the lake to see the mushrooms before they’re gone. They won’t stay much longer!
(Location: Hokkaido, Town of Kamishihoro, Nukabira)
(Photographer: Ryoji Iwasaki - http://eng.mg/31b14)