Majestic Mount Shirane: Volcanic beauty with emerald crater lake in Japan.
Explore the volcanic beauty of Mount Shirane and its stunning emerald crater lake in Japan.

Mount Shirane

After visiting the wonderful Yumi-ike Pond, it’s time to go to the Mount Shirane.

After visiting the wonderful Yumi-ike Pond, it’s time to go to the Mount Shirane. As you may see, we are definitely not alone on the climb.

Queue on the Mount Shirane

After a very short hiking track, we reach the Lake Yugama (湯釜湖). What an amazing view! The lake of the crater, with its emerald color, is surrounded with an arid landscape and just above it: the clear blue sky; the presence of the thin cloudy layer in the background reminds us that we’re not on another planet, but on planet Earth indeed.

Yugama Crater Lake

For safety reasons we can’t really come closer: actually the water is extremely acid with a pH of 1.2, which is even worse than the Chatsubomigoke Pond’s pH. These ponds are like gastric juice… but 27 meter deep!

Shirane Yugama Crater Lake

Yugama means Boiling Water in a Pot but the truth is really far from the name : the water temperature is only 2 or 3 degrees over the air temperature. Even Bambi could have a bath if he didn’t care too much his nice coat.

Emerald Color of Yugama Lake

Even if the volcano erupted a few times during the last years, it didn’t make a slaughter (3 people died in 1973). However 120 km away from here, there is a far more dangerous one: Mount Asama. In 2009 the ashes of its eruptions reached Tokyo! I have a few pictures of Mount Asama on my article about Asama Volcano Museum on Haikyo. Go and see it if you miss ruins!

We come back down to take the cable car in the opposite direction. The day is almost over, and during the descent I noticed some ponds and lakes surrounded by colorful trees. Let’s go and see!

Shiga-Kusatsu Rock

The sun is going down quicker than I expected; you have to know that in Japan, the sun rises early so it also sets early. In France we are used to have dinner outside in summer, to enjoy the sunset but here you just can’t. And of course in Autumn it’s even worst!

Another Shirane Ropeway

For you information, here is the approximate sun timetable in Japan, and the duration of the days :

MARCH : 5.50am – 5.50pm – 12 hours of sunshine
JUNE : 4.20am – 7.00pm – 15 hours of sunshine
SEPTEMBER : 5.20am – 5.50pm – 12 hours of sunshine
DECEMBER : 6.40am – 4.30 pm – 10 hours of sunshine

Waking up early is then more profitable, and now I’m sure my friends can fully understand why I’m waking up at 3am or earlier every week-end! Anyway, all this was just to say that the sun is already gone so we have to hurry up! But an unexpected surprise happened on our way: the light seems perfect to enjoy the view of Yokote Mountain.

Yokote Mountain

We finally reach Maruike Pond a bit late but we still have 5 minutes to take some pictures before everything disappears into darkness.

Maruike Pond

The light fades away…

Biwaike Pond

And now we are almost in the obscurity…

Maruike Pond Sunset

Now that the night is dark, we reach the closest manga-kissaten. But I was anxious to feel frozen one last time on the top of the mountain, just to shoot some long exposure photos…

Clouds Over Shirane Mountain

Only 5 minutes were enough to fully handicap me, but the sight was worth it, wasn’t it?

Ghibli Version of Shirane

The Autumn is far from over, so see you very soon! A huge thank you to all of you for reading Totoro Times 🙂

Translated from French by Clément Gdy.

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