A strange “flower” grows in the middle of an icy lake

When winter comes, the beautiful Akan Lake in Hokkaido, Japan is covered with snowflakes, creating a fairy-tale scene.


Lake Akan is a beautiful volcanic lake in Akan Mashu National Park in Japan. The lake is famous for being home to marimo, a rare species of algae that forms beautiful green balls. Lake Akan is about 75 km north of central Kushiro. Buses in Akan operate 3 – 4 times a day between Kushiro and the lake. There are also stops at Kushiro airport and the Akan international crane center along the way.


In winter, Lake Akan in Kushiro city is covered with snow and ice and snow flowers bloom on the surface of the lake. These are ice crystals shaped like flowers, which can only be seen between December and March when Lake Akan is covered with ice. On the frozen surface of the lake, visitors can see a scene blooming like a field of white flowers.


Snow flowers – Winter flowers can only grow in calm times. They are even more beautiful when the golden rays of sunlight shine on them. Snowflakes are created when crystallized mist is created on the surface of a frozen lake in the early morning.


For snow “flowers” to bloom, the surface of the lake must be frozen and free of snow, the temperature must be below -15⁰C and there must be no wind. This is a natural phenomenon that occurs on quiet mornings. The scenery here at that time will be like in a fairy tale.


Since Lake Akan is located in a large volcanic crater, it is an ideal place to “cool down”. Covered mountains and rarely blown winds make the lake the perfect spot for snowdrops. The flowers can reach the size of a rose or even a hand.


Snow flowers are extremely delicate, if they grow at midnight, they will scatter like dust if a small breeze passes by in the morning. They have a short lifespan, melting in an instant. If the flowers “bloom” in the morning, they can grow as big as the palm of your hand. The flower scene “blooming” early in the morning will be like a carpet of frozen crystal flowers.


There are many unfrozen holes in Lake Akan and snowflakes grow from there. When going to see snowflakes, visitors can fall down and get stuck in such holes. Therefore, it is safer to opt for a tour with a local guide. The chance of seeing snowflakes is not great, so if possible, you should stay in this area for more than 2 nights. The view of Lake Akan in winter is extremely “photogenic”.

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