We took the bus to the Lake Shikatsu National Park for an ice festival.
We were blown away at the natural beauty of the lake and surrounding mountains. The lake was crystal clear. It was breath taking. We touched the water in the lake, took a short walk through the park and were happy to be back in a National Park (even if not from our own country). After taking in the scenery we went into the ice festival. This festival is unique due to its man made ice structures. They put up minimal amounts of chicken wire or wood as a base and then they spray lake water onto it and it freezes. The wire and wood are removed leaving ice buildings in which you can walk into and on. The tallest one was three floors to walk on.
After having dinner and spending some time in the visitor center for the National Park, it was dusk and the ice buildings were lit up by colored lights. We returned to the festival to find the buildings glowing with multicolored lights. The afternoon was full of natural beauty but the evening felt like a multicolored fairy tale. We then ended the evening with fireworks surrounded by ice.
Well, that wasn’t really the end…the night actually ended by waiting in a bus line for 15 minutes (while freezing) and a 35 minute (hot, bumpy and packed) bus ride back to the city. But, we both agree: WORTH IT!