Biei Blue Pond 美瑛の青い池
Aoi-ike in Biei is a stunning blue color
In recent years, the blue pond of Biei, Aoi-ike, has become one of Hokkaido's must-visit sights. But why is the pond so blue?
An artificial pond
The pond in Biei is said to actually be artificial, created with help from man. In the late 1980s, Mount Tokachi erupted. In order to protect the surrounding buildings, it was decided that a dam would be built on the Biei River to prevent any mudslides. The blue pond is one of the ponds that formed as a result of dam construction.
A turquoise blue
This unusual blue color is not just due to the sky reflected in the pond. Its secret comes from the Shirahage waterfall not far away: the water trickles down the cliff and picks up the aluminum present in the walls. But that's not all, other substances, such as sulphides, reach the bottom of the pond and whiten the stones. And that's how you get a turquoise pond!
Life and death of trees
This improbable color isn't the only interesting feature of the lake. The plants present also add to 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 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.
In addition, the shades of blue change with the seasons. The incredible turquoise shade is usually seen from mid-May to the end of June. When water from melting ice or heavy rain is added to the pond, it turns a more emerald color.
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