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On the Japanese island of Hokkaido things are a little special, they get magical ‘jewel ice’. In most countries the season of winter means coldness, frost, and possibly snow, and that’s about as magical as it gets.

It sounds magical but it’s actually just normal ice that breaks off of the the island’s Tokachi River which becomes frozen due to plummeting temperatures. It then washes to shore and sparkles on the beaches, looking like magical crystals or jewels twinkling in the low-hanging winter sun. As you can imagine, it’s beautiful.

This and the fact that ice isn’t often seen on beaches gives it an air of mystery.

It’s not a new happening though, people have been flocking to the island’s shoreline for years to witness it. The island even has a museum dedicated to the phenomenon and tourists can take boat rides to see the floating blocks of ice that the ice jewels break apart from.

Tourist website Japan-Guide.com reports that “Hokkaido is the second largest, northernmost and least developed of Japan’s four main islands. Its weather is harsh in winter with lots of snowfall, below zero temperatures and frozen seas, while in summer it does not get as hot and humid as in the other parts of the country.” They even have an entire village made out of ice (as seen in the video above) which appears at Alpha Resort-Tomamu in Shimukappu town, Hokkaido, in winter only.

This year the magical jewel ice captured not just the tourists’ but the internet’s imagination too, and people’s pictures on social media got shared around as everyone marveled at the magical-looking ice.

Plus it meant you could appreciate vicariously, without actually having to stand outside suffering the cold temperatures.

You can check out some pics of the jewel ice below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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