When I went to Aomori's Lake Juniko I was not expecting to be hypnotized. The image still teases me in my dreams.
We have all heard Japan has amazing natural scenery, but Aoike Pond is literally paralyzing beautiful. I remember visiting like it was yesterday...
It was a Sunday morning, a day after I spent the night in a nicely furnished cottage establishment called "Wespa."
The sun came out to say hello and my friends and I felt adventurous to find this so-called blue pond. Believe me the drive up their had me questioning my sources as I couldn't believe it until I saw it for myself.
The actual lake itself to hike is free. The parking cost is ¥400. If coming by car, follow the road up past the lake, you will be able to find a large parking area.
Once you park you pay at a small booth near the bottom of the parking area.
To the west of the parking booth is a nice gift shop. To the north of the parking booth is where the actual trail starts.
Information on Lake Juniko
Juniko is made of 12 lakes (well, actually 33) scattered throughout its entirety.
There are many hiking trails that run from 1 hour to 3 hours to even 5 hours long. Juniko provides fun for anyone looking to see beautiful scenery, get a great workout, or simply go on a lovely date with your significant other.
The hunt for the blue lake
From the parking structure to the blue pond Aoike takes about 15 minutes at a normal walking speed.
There are signs everywhere pointing to the direction of the blue pond so you need not fear of losing your way.
I hope you bring your camera because the walk up (this was in late October) was spectacular. As you walk on the trail towards the pond there is a marvelous lake to the left. We saw some birds that were bathing themselves in the lake.
There are signs throughout the trail that tell you how far the lake is so as to not get lost. Next you see a sign in Japanese that reads "Aoike" and right behind it you see the most spectacular pond you ever seen in your life. You wonder to yourself if this is real. You take a second look and by that time your eyes are glued to the pond. You can get closer to the pond by walking towards the rails. There are viewing platforms: a closer rail towards the pond and one higher up.
The pond itself is too beautiful to capture in a photograph--but you have to try, right?
After you spend about 30 minutes to take the best possible picture, you spend another 15 minutes to just stare at the lake never wanting it to leave your sight. Seriously, this lake freezes people in time.
You are able to walk up further onto the trail from the pond and start hiking different trails. The hiking trails have the length it will take to complete the trail just in case you are time constricted.
I unfortunately was short on time but was already full to the brim with joy from just seeing the blue pond.
I hope you can feel the same emotions that I went through when I saw this pond.
Whether you go by yourself or not, make sure to look at this pond twice, it will be worth your time. The area is amazing with flowers in spring, greens in summer, and autumn colors. The area gets a lot of snow, but special snow-shoeing adventures are offered from nearby hotels for a rare treat.