Shirogane Blue Pond; a mysteriously beautiful place
In the town of Biei, Hokkaido, lies the Blue Pond.
Thanks to its sheer beauty, its image has been adopted as a wallpaper for Apple Mac,
and it is now known as one of Japan’s best scenic spots, attracting tourists from all over the world.
Before we say anything further, just look at its beauty.
The lush summer greenery together with the water’s blue surface are a beautiful sight, while the harsh,
wintry scene of withered trees and ice is just as enchanting.
And it’s not just the day time—you can see a completely different side to this magical landscape when the area is lit up in the evenings.
So, where is it and how do you get there?
The Blue Pond can be found at the foot of Mount Tokachi to the east of Biei, a famous town in the Kamikawa district of Hokkaido.
You can get there directly from Sapporo by car or bus,
and it’s also possible to transfer to a rental car or bus at either Asahikawa Station or Furano Station.
There are no trains nearby, so here’s how to get there from Biei Station on the JR Furano line.
This is Biei Station.
The Blue Pond is located about 17.2 km from Biei Station.
As well as private cars, visitors can use buses, taxis, rental cars and rental bikes to get there.
If using a bus, then there’s a bus stop along the main road in front of the station.
From there, take the Dohoku Bus (Biei-Shirogane Line), and get off at Shirogane Blue Pond Entrance (about a 20-minute ride).
From there, the Blue Pond is about a 5-minute walk.
If driving, take Hokkaido’s Prefectural Road number 966.
From Biei’s town centre, head east for about 15 km and on your left you will see Roadside Station Biei “Shirogane Biruke”.
The Blue Pond is about 2 km from here, but the two-lane road can get quite crowded depending on the time of day.
Naturally, the cars are all heading for the Blue Pond.
There’s a smaller road that goes behind Shirogane Biruke and leads directly to Blue Pond Parking Lot 2,
so if you head down there you can save a little time.
There is space for up to 270 cars.
Just 5 minutes from the parking lot, you’ll find that stunning scenery!
There’s also the Biei View Bus which provides tours around Biei and the Blue Pond,
starting from the Shiki-no-Jouhoukan information center which is located in front of Biei Station.
The tour takes around three hours and includes various famous Biei attractions, such as the Biei Hills and Shikisai no Oka.
It costs 2600 yen for adults and 1300 yen for children.
A sightseeing bus is a great way to enjoy everything that Biei has to offer.
The best way to enjoy Shirogane Blue Pond
There’s a walking trail that wraps half-way around the Blue Pond,
so you can enjoy an abundance of magical views from various angles.
There’s also an abundance of trees that offer beautiful scenery all year round,
from the fresh verdure of spring and the colourful leaves of fall, to the blanket of snow that arrives with winter.
In spring, the water contains melted snow which turns it a blue-green color, then changing to a light blue in early summer.
The color contrasts beautifully against the autumn leaves in fall, and you can see the pond freeze over in winter.
There’s also a light-up event which takes place in the evening from November to April.
The time of the illuminations varies depending on the month, so please make sure to check.
November 1st – December 31st: 16:30—21:00
January 1st – January 31st: 17:00—21:00
February 1st – February 28th: 17:30—21:00
March 1st – March 31st: 18:00—21:00
April 1st – April 30th: 18:30—21:00
However, whether or not you can see the beautiful colors of the pond will depend on the movement of the sun.
The color of the water is also down to the temperature, wind and the changing conditions within the pond itself,
so it all depends on what day and what time.
What sort of color will you be able to see?
The afternoon is the best time to visit!
In the morning, the pond is backlit and it’s difficult to see, which means this isn’t a good time for taking photos.
However, it’s still possible around sunrise to capture a truly magical and dreamlike pond, as long as there is no wind.
The parking lot is closed in the early morning, so you will have to park on the roads.
There are not many cars in the morning, but please be careful.
From the parking lot, follow the walking trail around the pond and there will be a sudden right turn.
This corner is where the trees are the most open, making it the best spot to take a picture for your photo album.
Why is the Shirogane Blue Pond so blue?
The water here is so blue it’s incredible, and the reason for this lies in the nearby hot springs.
About 2 km upstream from the blue pond is Shirogane Onsen.
In this hot spring town, water containing aluminum flows down from Shirahige Waterfall,
a unique waterfall that actually flows underground and then cascades through gaps in the middle of the cliff face.
When this water mixes with the water of the Biei River,
it creates invisible colloidal particles which then scatter the sunlight and give the water its blue appearance.
If you follow the walking trail round the back of the Blue Pond, you can also see the Biei River.
The Blue Pond was originally a dam built on the river to prevent any mudslides after Mount Tokachi erupted in 1988.
This magnificent landscape has been created by the water that collects there.
If you get chance, please go and see for yourself this miraculous, man-made pond which was created by chance.