Experience Yubari winter, "ice carousel" appears at Lake Shuparo in late January
From January 28 to 30, Lake Shuparo in Yubari will feature an “ice carousel” ride made from cutting a circle shape in the frozen lake surface and spinning it. This fun idea originated in Northern Europe. At night, bon fires will blaze, creating a magical atmosphere. A person involved with the event expressed hope that, “this will grow to be a new winter Yubari event tradition.”
The origin of this event traces to around December 2020, when a Sapporo planning company proposed ideas to organizations including the Yubari Chamber of Commerce and Industry for using the lake effectively. Preparations commenced by the “Yubari de Machi Asobi Planning Committee”, an organization composed of seven groups including the Yubari River Dam General Management Office, which manages the lake, the Chamber of Commerce, the Tourist Association, and a construction company.
In February of last year, Planning Committee members experimentally cut circular shapes in approximately 15-cm-thick ice with chainsaws and created “discs” of five and ten meters in diameter. However, they reported, “Perhaps because the shapes were not perfect circles, they did not rotate enough even when we pushed with our feet.” Therein, they decided to hire a professional service to create a 15-meter disc for their goal of opening up the ice carousel to the public this winter.
This same kind of ice carousel, also called an “ice merry-go-round”, actually appeared in Hokkaido once before, namely in 2020 at Lake Onuma in the Southern Hokkaido Oshima region town of Nanae. Visitors rode on the ice, and enjoyed the magical scenery created by blazing light from bon fires and ice candles at night.
At Lake Shuparo, visitors can walk down to the lake surface from the Dam Management Office and enjoy the sight of dam structure rising up from the lake surface and the surrounding woodlands. At night, if the weather is clear, visitors can enjoy sparkling night sky filled with rotating stars.
The Chamber of Commerce expressed hope that, “people will learn the knowhow for creating perfect discs and continue to develop this into a famous Yubari winter event tradition along with other activities like ice surface walking.”
The ice carousel will be open for free for Yubari residents from 3:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on January 28. On January 29, it will be open to Yubari residents and tour visitors from 10:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at a price of 500 yen per person for non-residents. On January 30, the ice carousel will be open all day, and is slated for tour visitors only.
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