Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Glimpse of Suwa Lake, Nagona: Japan

On early morning of August 17, 2008, we (me and my lab's frens) bound for Kurobe Dam field trip for 3days by bus. On the first day of our travel, we had a free time to sightseeing around Suwa lake, which is located on the way. Here I am going to post a nice glompses of Suwa lake....
Photoshot of Lake Suwa

Eagle flying right above the Lake

Foot Exericise for good health

Taking a foot bath by hot spring water
Hot spring water jump a high

Suwako / Lake Suwa
Suwako is the largest lake in Nagano prefecture but it also features one of the world's largest geysers. It is also a region whose hot spring waters are so abundant that their use goes far beyond being used in onsen resorts. With its natural surroundings and varying climate, the lake and its surrounding area draws 6.4 million visitors annually and offers a slightly different mix of sights and attractions than those in other such settings.
Lake Suwa, located in the center of the prefecture, has a surface area of 14 square kilometers and is up to 7.6 meters deep. A variety of boats, some available for renting, cruise these waters for leisure or fishing but the lake is frozen for two to three months of the year. During those times, ice fishing for smelts is popular as is skating. Furthermore, there are 10 or more of days every year where the temperature falls below minus 10 degrees celsius causing a contraction and expansion of the ice. Eventually, the pressure causes the lake surface to break accompanied by loud cracking noises. In the process, the ice surface is also known to rise by about a meter higher. The locals call this very rare phenomenon Omiwatari (God's Cross/Passage) and believe this occurs when the two gods enshrined in the Suwa-Taisha Shrine, Prince Takeminakata and Princess Yasakatome, encounter each other.
There is also so much hot spring water in the area that it isn't reserved for use just at hotels and resorts. An outdoor hot spring bath is located also at Kami-Suwa Station for train users who only need to show their boarding or station admission ticket to use it. The Lake Suwa Service Area on the Chuo Expressway has one for drivers and their passengers with a sweeping view of the lake.
Recorded history of Suwa's hot springs first appeared in Kamakura period (1185 - 1333) literature. These waters have also been known to be used by people for bathing, cooking and washing during the Edo period (1603-1867). In the city of Suwa alone, there are wells in seven locations that pump out about 15 million liters per day, at an average temperature of 65 degrees celsius! Today, about 13,000 households are benefitting from being able to use the hot springs for everyday use, as well as government offices, commercial businesses, and schools. Suwako has a circumference of 16 kilometers and is 759 meters above sea level. It is drained by the Tenryu River into the Pacific Ocean. The lakeshore is lined with towns such as Suwa, Shimosuwa and Okaya as well as a 1 kilometer-long park. The Stone Sculpture Park features an outdoor exhibit of works by artists from 7 countries.
Among the region's annual events is a music festival that takes place between August 1st and 14th, and a 45 year-old fireworks festival that features 30,000 shots that mirror against the lake surface. Roughly 400,000 spectators are drawn to this fireworks event.


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