A glistening white road upon a frozen lake surface in central Nagano Prefecture is where the gods walk. Across Lake Suwa, a natural phenomenon referred to as “The Gods’ Crossing” appears in winter when the ice forms ridges across the lake’s surface. The scene is out of this world.
Lake Suwa was the inspiration for the lake in the widely-loved 2016 anime "your name." (Kimi no Nawa). If you’re lucky enough to witness this natural wonder up close you’ll be whisked away into a fantasy wonderland. We had a chance to stop by and pay it a visit a few years back after visiting the famous Matsumoto Castle which is located nearby.
How The Gods’ Crossing forms
The lake has a natural hot spring under its surface which causes this anomaly to occur. During winter when the top of the lake freezes, the hot springs below are still warm and circulating. The warm water interacting with the cold ice forms pressure ridges or ice patterns on the lake surface. Some of the ridges reach heights of more than 30cm and look like sharp blades jutting out of the ice.
Changes in temperature from daytime to night cause the ice to crack and thus the holy road appears.
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