A liquid sapphire set deep in a Hokkaido forest
On the edge of Lake Mashu near the town of Kiyosato in eastern Hokkaido is a rare natural phenomenon—a transparent yet luminously blue pond called Kaminoko-ike, situated deep in the forest, with fallen trees submerged in its waters.
Kaminoko-ike Pond is a hidden gem in the wilderness of Hokkaido. Its crystal-clear blue waters and serene surroundings make it a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers. This natural wonder, also known as the “liquid sapphire,” is a sight to behold.
The pond gets its name from an Ainu legend, which says that its waters came from the nearby Lake Mashu, the lake of the gods. Kaminoko-ike Pond is believed to be a gift from the gods, and there is something mystical about it. The pond’s waters appear shallow, but they are actually five meters deep. The white volcanic ash at the bottom of the pond reflects back blue light from the sun, creating a mesmerizing color that changes with the sunlight.
To reach Kaminoko-ike Pond, one must embark on a scenic drive through the beautiful landscapes of Hokkaido. The pond is only accessible by car, and it is a 50-minute drive from Nakashibetsu Airport or an hour from Memanbetsu Airport. From the town of Kiyosato, visitors can drive 25 kilometers south towards Lake Mashu/Nakashibetsu. From Yoroushi Onsen, a popular hot spring resort, it is a 23-kilometer drive north toward Kiyosato/Shari. It is important to note that the last two kilometers of the journey consist of a bumpy unpaved road into the forest, and access may be limited in winter due to snow.
Upon arriving at Kaminoko-ike Pond, visitors will be greeted by the tranquil beauty of the surroundings. The pond is nestled deep in the forest, with fallen trees submerged in its waters. The sight of the transparent blue pond against the lush greenery of the forest is truly breathtaking. The colors of the pond’s waters subtly shift throughout the day, creating a mesmerizing display of blues and greens.
Despite its seemingly shallow appearance, Kaminoko-ike Pond is actually five meters deep. The pond’s waters are replenished with 12,000 tons of spring water daily, ensuring its clarity and vibrancy. The water temperature remains a constant 8 degrees centigrade, which prevents the submerged trees from decomposing. This unique natural phenomenon adds to the allure of the pond and makes it a fascinating sight to behold.
Visitors to Kaminoko-ike Pond are encouraged to take their time and fully appreciate its subtle beauty and changes. The intensity of the sunlight shining on the pond can transform its waters into shades of aquamarine and emerald green. In winter, when the sunlight is weaker, the pond takes on an indigo blue color against a backdrop of perfectly white snow. The contrasting colors create a picturesque scene that is a delight for photographers.
As visitors explore the area around Kaminoko-ike Pond, they will discover the untamed wilderness of Hokkaido. The nearby Sakura Falls is a must-see attraction, especially from late June to late August when cherry salmon can be seen leaping upstream. The Uramashu Observatory, located on the quieter east side of Lake Mashu, offers stunning views of the lake and its surrounding landscapes. And after a day of exploring, visitors can unwind and relax at the renowned Yoroushi Onsen, just 23 kilometers away. This hot spring resort is known for its healing properties and provides the perfect opportunity to rejuvenate mind and body.
Kaminoko-ike Pond is a hidden gem that showcases the natural beauty of Hokkaido. Its unique characteristics and stunning colors make it a destination worth visiting for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Whether it’s the transparent yet luminously blue waters, the submerged trees, or the surrounding untamed wilderness, Kaminoko-ike Pond offers a truly unforgettable experience.
So, if you find yourself in Hokkaido, make sure to include a visit to Kaminoko-ike Pond in your itinerary. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of the forest, witness the shifting colors of the pond’s waters, and appreciate the wonders of nature in this hidden oasis.
Address And Maps Location: