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This is so Hokkaido!

2019.11.20

A Frozen Flower that Blooms Only in Winter

◎The ephemeral winter phenomenon known as the “frost flower.”

A miraculous flower that blooms only in the harshest cold.

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A field of delicate flowers spread across the surface of the lake. They resemble fine handmade glass objects. The contrast between the winter white colour of the flowers and the deep azure blue of the lake creates a gorgeous dream-like landscape that will make you wonder whether what you’re seeing is even real.

Said to be “the flower that only blooms in the harshest cold,” the frost flower is created when steam on the surface of a frozen lake freezes, causing it to crystallize repeatedly in fine feather-like layers. The end result is reminiscent of the petals of a rose.

Let’s take a quick look at what exactly makes frost flowers bloom in the first place.

 

The 3 conditions necessary for frost flowers to bloom.

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This mysterious flower is so pure and delicate, that it cannot bloom unless weather conditions are exactly perfect.

The 3 necessary conditions for frost flowers to appear are as follows

  1. There needs to be no snow built up on the frozen surface of the lake
  2. The temperature must be below -15
  3. There must be almost no wind

The flowers are so incredibly delicate that even lightly breathing on them will cause them to melt immediately. Since they’re so susceptible to warmth, you can only see these flowers during a very short window of time in the early morning. Its delicate, ephemeral existence really gives you a sense of the fragility of nature.

 

The best place to encounter the mysterious frost flower

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 Considering there are so many specific conditions that have to be perfect for the flowers to bloom, you might be wondering if you’d be lucky enough to witness this strange phenomenon of nature even if you did go seek it out. But, there’s actually a place where your chances of meeting this fragile flower are high.

Lake Akan in Eastern Hokkaido.

Despite the fact that the frost flower normally appears during the short period of time from December to January, the particular layout of the land around Lake Akan and its specific climate create the perfect environment for the frost flowers to bloom until the beginning of March!

If you’re hoping to get to witness this miracle of nature yourself, we highly recommend that you stay in Lake Akan and sign up for one of the available guided tours. The guides know where the best spots that have the highest chance of them appearing, so leave it to the pros and get ready to be moved by beauty.

Make your time in Hokkaido so much more magical by witnessing this illusory field of flowers. You’re sure to experience a winter landscape that you’ll never forget.

 

The safest way to travel Hokkaido’s icy roads! Take the airport bus or the East Hokkaido Express Bus to Lake Akan

The snowfall in Hokkaido is not to be taken lightly and neither are the icy roads.

The bus leaving from Kushiro Airport can take you to Lake Akan easily and safely. Or if you want something that takes you around the special winter sights of East Hokkaido like the frost flowers of Lake Akan and the ocean-side drift-ice, our recommendation is the convenient East Hokkaido Express Bus.

 

■Airport Shuttle Bus

About 1 hour 15 minutes From Kushiro Airport to Lake Akan.

Akan Airport Liner: 2 return trips every day. (March 1 to 17 is 1 return trip every day. Bus doesn’t run from March 18 to 31)

Akan Line, Year-round Bus: 3 round trips every day (4 round trips between July and October)

Airport Shuttle Bus (use a translation tool)  

 

■East Hokkaido Express Bus

Runs from end of January until early March.

Please book tickets by 3pm two days in advance at the latest. 

East Hokkaido Express Bus (use a translation tool)

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