Biei Blue Pond, Hokkaido 美瑛の青い池
The blue pond of Biei
Credit: Youn Kwon on Unsplash
Biei Blue Pond in Hokkaido
Credit: Vasiliki Volkova on Unsplash
The most beautiful lake in Japan is in Hokkaido: Aoi-ike
In recent years, the blue pond of Biei, Aoi-ike, has become a must-visit sight on Hokkaido Island in northern Japan. But why is the pond so blue?
Where does the turquoise blue of Lake Biei come from?
The pond of Biei is a pond that is said to be artificial, created by the hand of Man. In the late 1980s, Mount Tokachi erupted. In order to protect the surrounding buildings, it was decided to build a dam on the Biei River to prevent any mudslides. The blue pond is one of the ponds that formed as a result of the construction of the dam.
This unusual blue color is not only due to the sky reflecting in the pond. Its secret comes from the nearby Shirahage waterfall: the water trickles down the cliff and picks up the aluminum present in the walls. But that's not all; other substances, like sulfide, reach the bottom of the pond, thus whitening the stones. And that's how you get a turquoise blue pond!
This unlikely color is not the only interesting feature of the lake. The plants present also participate in the surreal atmosphere of the place. While the pond is surrounded by living trees, in the middle there are skeletons of larch and birch trees that once grew on the ground before the formation of the pond.
When is the best season to visit?
Although the existence of this pond has long remained a secret, it now attracts many tourists. The conditions for viwing it are ideal in the summer, but of course it's also the time when there are the most visitors.
The blue shade of changes with the seasons; the incredible turquoise shade is usually seen from mid-May to June. When the non-aluminized water from melting ice or heavy rains enters the pond, it turns more a more emerald color.
The shades of blue change with the seasons.
Aoi-ike in Biei is a stunning blue color
How to get to the Biei pond?
The easiest way to get to the pond is by car. The Blue Pond is located along the road that connects the town of Biei to Tokachidake Onsen. From the car park the pond is a 5/10 minutes walk, through the surrounding forest.
There is also a bus to the lake. The line connecting Biei Station and Shirogane Onsen stops at the dedicated Shirogane Aoiike Iriguchi bus stop. The one-way trip from Biei Station to the pond takes 20 minutes and costs 550 yen.