Archive for February, 2012

To Niseko

February 19, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s a perfect day for skiing today!  Now let’s go to Niseko, powder snow wonderland!

The weather was indeed nice —

but as we were approaching Niseko, snow started to fall —


and it was snowing heavily in Niseko, and the temperature was minus 11 degrees celsius!


Enjoyed skiing anyway, fully armed with a mask and a neck muffler.


Riding on an Icebreaker

February 18, 2012 Leave a comment

A gull and sea ice at the Okhotsk sea.  Taken from an icebreaker ship “Aurora II”.

Looking at  “Aurora” leaving the port of Abashiri from “Aurora II”.

The view of the city of Abashiri from the ship.

Sea ice / ice floe / drift ice on the Okhotsk sea.

The Sea of Okhotsk coast of Hokkaido is the northern hemisphere’s southernmost region

to see drift ice.



Swans at Lake Tofutsu

February 17, 2012 Leave a comment


Swans at Lake Tofutsu in eastern Hokkaido.

Looks so cold with ice on the lake.

Frozen Lake Mashu

February 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Lake Mashu in February, 2012.

It’s one of the world’s clearest lakes, yet it is often covered in fog.

And now ice is covering the surface of the lake.

Categories: place to visit Tags: , ,

Day & Night at Lake Akan

February 15, 2012 2 comments

Lake Akan Ice Festival is held from January 23rd till March 22nd.

A firework display is presented every night on the frozen lake Akan.

There’s “Ainu Kotan” in Lake Akan hot spring resort.

The word “kotan” means village in the Ainu language.

This is Hokkaido’s largest Ainu community with 130 people in 36 households.

The picture above shows the entrance of Ainu Kotan,

where wood carved owls on the entrance gate welcome visitors.

Owl is considered as the highest ranked animal “kamuy” (god or deity).

The owl god is believed to be the guardian of a village.

This is another owl in the kotan/village.

At the “Onne Chise” theater in Ainu Kotan, traditional Ainu dances,

which were designated as important intangible cultural properties in 1984,  are performed.

At the end of the performance, visitors can actually dance with them on the stage.

Early morning at Lake Akan with Mt. Oakan behind the lake.

Can you see cars are on the frozen lake?

Another picture of lake Akan.

On this day, the temperature at 6 o’clock in the morning at Akan dropped to

minus 19 degrees Celsius!

Whooper Swans at the Tokachi River

February 14, 2012 Leave a comment

Who’s afraid of a human being?

Well, definitely not swans at the Tokachi River in Hokkaido.

They are even walking (?) around in the parking area near the river.

Those big white wild birds fly into the Tokachi River area to pass the winter.

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Tomamu Ski Resort

February 13, 2012 1 comment

Tomamu ski resort in the morning!  A powder-snow paradise!

Mountains surrounding the ski resort.

“Ice Village” opens 5 pm to 10 pm.

Behind the “Ice Village”, you can see the ski slopes on the left

and “The Tower” hotel on the right.

The village has several ice buildings including this Ice Bar.

People can enjoy sake cocktail in an ice glass —

— sitting on an ice chair!

The village even has an “Ice Chapel”, where a real wedding ceremomy can be held.