Some may find this scenery familiar. Yes, this picture appeared as one of the wallpapers in Macbook Pro (http://www.apple.com/macbook-pro/features-retina/). Located near Shirogane onsen area, this pond is mysteriously blue in colour. Because of rain, waters appeared to be murky (as shown in the picture above) due to soil erosion. Otherwise on a good day, one will be able to see the reflection of white birch from the waters clearly.
Background: A dam/dike was built by Hokkaido Development Authority for emergency preparedness - to hold back volcanic mud if volcanic eruption from Mt Tokachidake is to occur. Waters started to collect in this dike. Reason for the blue waters remains unknown despite water analysis conducted. However, one hypothesis given was colloids formed from aluminium containing water from Shirogane and Biei River, reflect as blue colour under sunlight. Indeed, a beautiful picturesque created by natural phenomenon.
Aoi ike (Shirogane Blue Pond) 青い池
Approx 18 km from Biei JR Station
Biei Tourism website (in Japanese): http://www.biei-hokkaido.jp/kankouspot/refresh/refresh.html
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How to get there?
(1) Twinkle Bus Asahikawa Sweets and Biei Course, makes a 30 mins stopover at this attraction. Only available on selected dates in July and September.
Fee for complete course (board and alight at Asahikawa JR Station) = 2,500 yen
(2) If you plan to stay at Shirogane Park Hills Hotel, Aoi ike is about 45 mins away by foot.
Park Hills Hotel: http://www.biei-hotelparkhills.com/english/footpas.html