Ice Village On Hokkaido Lake Offers Hot And Cold Services

Ice village on Hokkaido lake offers hot and cold servicesA winter village created on the ice of frozen Lake Shikaribetsuko is a cool destination, complete with steaming outside onsen hot spring baths.

Called Shikaribetsuko Kotan, the village also boasts igloos for overnight stays and an "ice bar" that serves drinks in tumblers carved from ice.

It opened for business on Jan. 24. It has been built annually with blocks of ice cut from the frozen lake for the last 34 years. The lake ice is about 50 centimeters thick.

"Seeing how something so big could be created on top of a frozen lake makes me think about the grandness and majesty of nature," said Hirokazu Yamazaki as he took a dip in the bath. The 42-year-old office worker is originally from Tokyo, but moved to Obihiro, Hokkaido, last spring.

The open-air bath has two tubs. The water is drawn from nearby hot springs and the temperature is maintained at 40 degrees or higher.

Visitors can also enjoy alcoholic beverages in the village’s ice bar.

The village is open until March 22. The hot spring bath is free of charge and open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.