The "Blue Pond" in Biei, Hokkaido, Japan

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The Blue Pond (青い池 Aoi-ike) is a man-made pond feature in Biei, Hokkaido, Japan. In 1988, when Mount Takachi was set to erupt, the Biei River was dammed, creating this body of water (among others) to protect the town of Biei from volcanic mudflows.

The vibrant blue coloration, however, is a special feature of this one pond, a result of the accidental presence of colloidal aluminium hydroxide in the water, as well as sulfur and lime which whiten the bottom of the lake, giving it that special shimmer.

The once-living Japanese larch and silver birch trees that were submerged only add to the scenery that is almost tragic in some ways, but so very beautiful.

The pond itself will display a varying shade of blue throughout the year, depending on the season and weather. Even the slightest breeze can change the ponds appearance dramatically. When there is no wind, it is as if someone laid out a giant mirror.

Though the Blue Pond was off-limits to the public each winter, in 2014 they illuminated the lake and opened up year-round. Although you can easily rent a car and visit this stunning landmark yourself, it’s highly recommended to join a tour for the trip. There are numerous tour agencies and bus companies that run tours to the Blue Pond from Sapporo.

Andrij Harasewych