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Japan's ice festival showcases beauty of "Shihuku Blue"

Piano ice sculpture
Piano ice sculpture

Photo feature by Miyoko Ishigami

TOKYO, Feb 3 (KUNA) -- Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival is an annual winter event that represents Hokkaido, the northernmost prefecture of Japan. Under the concept of an "Outdoor Ice Museum," some 30 big and small ice sculptures made by spraying and freezing the water of Lake Shikotsu are lined up in the festival till mid-February, including a 13-meter-tall symbol object called "Blue Tower." The sculptures are shining in "Shikotsu Blue" in the daytime, and lit up with various colors at night, creating a beautiful and colorful landscape.
Formed in a volcanic crater about 32,000 years ago, Lake Shikotsu is known for its "Shikotsu Blue" color that is produced by its high transparency. It is the second-deepest lake in Japan and boasts its water quality, having won the top spot in the Ministry of the Environment's water quality ranking 18 times.
Although stage performances and various activities are canceled in this year's festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic, visitors can witness beauty of "Shikotsu Blue" and appreciate the artistry of ice sculptures. (end) mk.mt