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Jewelry Ice: Must-see Winter Attraction in Hokkaido

New Year Fireman’s Parade: Ladder-top Acrobatics
©Jiji Press Photo

Jewelry Ice. The New York Times describes it as: “A truly rare phenomenon. This may be the only spot to find this kind of river ice,” referring to the estuary shores of the Tokachi River, which flows through the vast Tokachi Plain in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island. When the temperatures drop in winter, the Tokachi River freezes and chunks of nearly transparent ice are washed out into the Pacific Ocean. Wave action leaves these chunks rounded and polished like a crystal before they are thrown up onto the estuary shores where they glitter like gems under Tokachi’s clear and sparkling winter skies. Jewelry ice can be found in the period of late January to the end of February when temperatures are at their coldest.