Source: Photozou/elba

The Secrets of Hokkaido’s Mysterious Blue Pond

Made famous worldwide by the fairy-tale like iOS wallpaper, people found it hard to believe such a dream-like scene really existed in the world. The Blue Pond (a literal translation of the Japanese name Aoi-Ike) has become an icon of Japan’s natural scenic beauty, but the truth is that this pond is not natural at all, but a man-made accident.

Hokkaido-labo points out that a serious of overlapping coincidences is what lead this pond to become a visual wonder, that attracts tourists from all over the world to a small town in Hokkaido.

The pond's existence is a complete accident, a byproduct of efforts to halt volcanic damage to the town of Biei. In 1988 the nearby Mount Tokachi erupted and a dam was constructed on Biei River. The Blue Pond is one of a few ponds in the area that were artificially formed as a result of water flowing from the river.

But what gives this particular pond a shimmering, ethereal charm is the aluminium hydroxide-rich waters which reflect blue light. Depending on the weather and season the pond can be a startling cobalt blue, a mysterious green or a dark, glassy mirror.

Lime, sulfur and other substances are present in the water, whitening the rocks at the bottom. Ever looming are the skeletal forms of white birch trees that must have pre-dated the pond itself. The submerged dead trees reflected in the glassy pond add a haunting dimension to the scenery.

The pond’s popularity has led to it becoming a big tourist attraction in the otherwise little-known town of Biei. Day tours can be taken from Hokkaido’s capital Sapporo, or there is also parking available for those who wish to drive.

The pond is accessible all year round and you can even enjoy night-time illuminations in the winter.

Of course, it would be unfair to not give most of the credit for this scenery to Japan's seasons and mineral-rich waters, which elevate this accidental pond to the magical sight we can see today.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.