February 17, 16 | nobu Kawashima

Let’s go for early morning walk on frozen Lake Akan to see “Frost Flowers”

Snowfield and Mount Oakan in a morning glow, “Frost Flower” also called as “winter flower”, hoarfrost and diamond dust. I went for an early morning walk on frozen Lake Akan to see those beautiful nature sceneries.
 
This time, I participated in “White silver Lake Akan, early morning walk tour” planned by “Akan Tourism Associatin”.
 
 
阿寒湖地図
▲Mr. Nakadaira, was my guide on the day.
 
 
The meeting time was 6:20 a.m.
Once I stepped out of the hotel, my sleepiness had gone away immediately. The temperature on the day was - 22 degrees celsius. No matter how much I wore, cold air strikes my skin. However, this coldness creates amazing beauty of the nature.
 
First of all, I wore snow shoes to walk on the frozen Lake Akan. 
 
 
阿寒湖スノーシュー
▲There are so much snow on the frozen lake, some of the parts of the lake are not walkable without snow shoes.
 
 
I kept walking to the center of the lake. The sky got gradually lighter after the sunrise.
 
 
阿寒湖氷上の早朝散歩、スノーシュー
▲All covered by snow. Looks like a land but it is actually the frozen Lake Akan.
 
 
After I walked about 10 minutes, I saw a little forest on the snow.
This forest, actually an island that floats on Lake Akan. During summer, you can’t reach this island without a ship, however, you are able to walk to this island in the mid winter.
 
 
氷結した阿寒湖の小島
▲A little island on Lake Akan. Looks like floating island on the ice.
 
 
Keep walking until the shore of the island.
 
Not only humans walk to this island during winter.
 
 
キタキツネの足あと
▲I saw footprints of Ezo red fox, it continued from the frozen lake to the forest of the island.
 
 
According to Mr. Nakadaira, my guide, footprints of Ezo deers are also found quite common. 
As the sun goes up, the beauty that nature created began to shine.
 
 
阿寒湖の霧氷
▲You can see hoarfrost (frozen vapor) on the trees very closely.
 
 
阿寒湖の霧氷
▲The hoarfrost look like white flowers if you see the trees from a distance.

 
As I walked around the shore of the island, I reached the final point of this early morning tour.
A part of frozen lake melted and looks like a pond.
 
 
阿寒湖と雄阿寒岳
▲A part of frozen Lake Akan is melt and looks like a pond. The pond reflects Mount Oakan, like an upside-down Mount Fuji.
 
 
This is a particular point where the temperature is a little bit higher than other parts of the lake, because of the onsen underground. However, the water is still cold and you will not be able to bathe in. There were steams around but these are not because the water is hot, the steams appear because the  outside temperature is too low and there are a huge gap between the water temperature. 
 
If you see the border line of melted water and frozen lake, you see little white something. What is this…!?
 
 
阿寒湖のフロストフラワー
▲“Frost Flower”, other words called “Winter Flower”
 
 
This is “Frost Flower”.
When temperature is cold, frozen vapor stick to the surface of ice, and create shapes that look like flowers. This is a natural phenomenon seen in some parts of Eastern Hokkaido such as Lake Akan and Lake Kussharo.
 
“Today was a really lucky day” says the guide Mr. Nakadaira.
About -20 degrees celsius, no wind, and sunny. On the day like this, Frost Flowers, hoarfrost, and diamond dust are especially beautiful.
 
“The sunrise is extremely beautiful if you come out a bit more early. The sunrise is late until the mid February so you can watch that during the tour. If you are staying until tomorrow, try to wake up earlier and go out!”
 
If I hear that, I could not think of any reasons to not go out.
On the next morning, I woke up earlier and went to the lake again!  
 
Left the hotel at 5:45 a.m. Walked on the frozen lake, still dark, towards the floating island on the ice. 
At about 6:20 a.m., the sunrise started.
 
 
阿寒湖と雄阿寒岳の日の出
▲Watching sunrise on Lake Akan. The sun goes up from Mount Oakan.
 
 
明け方の阿寒湖の氷上
▲Trees with hoarfrost started to color in red
 
 
フロストフラワー
▲ Frost Flowers are colored too.
 
 
I was really satisfied that I woke up so early. I could not stop looking, and forgot about the coldness.
 
 
明け方の氷上の阿寒湖
▲The round hole like a pond near the island.
 
 
I could stay more but I left as the sun went up. I just have to go back the same way.
 
 
氷上から眺める阿寒湖温泉街
▲Lake Akan Onsen district viewing from the frozen lake. The white mountain is Mount Meakan.
 
 
As the onsen district gets near, it’s time to say good bye to this beautiful early morning scenery. Warm breakfast is waiting me at the hotel.
If you wake up a little early, even the breakfast tastes different. Why don’t you participate in this early morning walk?


 

Akan Tourism Associatin

0154-67-3200
http://www.lake-akan.com/en/index.php
The tour operated from late January to mid March
The tour duration is 6:30 a.m. - 7:30 a.m.
  • Let’s go for early morning walk on frozen Lake Akan to see “Frost Flowers”
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