Zao is known for its surreal winter scenes, but the area is worth another trip in the spring, fall and summer months. Skiers and tourists flock to Zao each winter for its powder snow and Juhyo forest, also known as the “Snow Monsters,” but one of the most well-known and brilliant views is that of Okama.
This enormous crater lake with a circumference of 1,080 meters is situated in between Mount Katta, Mount Goshiki and Mount Kumano within the Zao Mountain range. Bordering both Miyagi and Yamagata prefectures, the lake’s unique color makes it one of the most photogenic areas in the Tohoku region.
The crater was formed by a volcanic eruption in the 1720s and the volcanoes in Zao are still active to this day. Considered a “symbol” of Zao, the 27-meter-deep lake cannot sustain life because of the water’s acidity.
Its rich color plays a part in its mysterious magic, as it changes colors from turquoise to emerald green several times a day depending on how the sunlight hits it. Because of this, it’s often referred to as “Goshikinuma” or a five-colored pond. (That’s not to be confused with another area in Fukushima by the same name.)
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