Jewelry Ice: Sparkling gems in the Tokachi seaside

Slow Life HOKKAIDO

Feb 1, 2019

The Jewelry Ice in the Otsu Beach of Toyokoro Town is a unique natural phenomenon that can be seen only in winter from mid-January to late February. It is formed when blocks of ice from the mouth of the frozen Tokachi River flow out into the Pacific Ocean, where they are swept and shaped by the waves before becoming washed up on the beach. At its peak, countless pieces of ice of various shapes and sizes can spread out across the sandy shore. Every piece is unique, and they sparkle like gemstones in the sunlight. The best time to see the Jewelry Ice is during the sunrise or sunset, when the blocks of ice reflect the glow of the low sun. On extremely cold days, you might also see sea smoke rising from the ocean.

In recent years, the Jewelry Ice has been featured in various domestic and international media, and it has become a popular photo spot for tourists and photographers from Japan and overseas. However, since it is a natural phenomenon, it is hard to predict when and how much ice will come on any given day. Some photographers have been known to visit almost every day just to find their best shot of this spectacular site.

Note that the Otsu Beach can be very cold during this season, with temperatures dropping to -20°C or below, so make sure to come in cold weather gear. There is also no public transportation going to the site, so you need to reserve a taxi in advance or book a tour. For details, see the website below (Japanese language only) or inquire with your travel agent or hotel.

Jewelry Ice

Address: Otsu Kaigan, Toyokoro Town

Website: https://www.toyokoro-kankoh.com/ (Website available only in Japanese)

Phone: +81-15-578-7202 (Toyokoro Town Office, Japanese language only)

Season: Mid-January to late February

Cost: Free

Information about transport passes:

JR Hokkaido Rail Pass

http://www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/english/ticket/railpass/index.html

Travelling within Hokkaido

https://japanbyjapan.com/blog/travelling-within-hokkaido

*Information is correct as of January 2019.

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