Lake Notoro is nestled Hokkaido’s east side city of Abashiri, and is well known for its stunning lakeside fields of red glasswort. These fields turn start blushing bright red in the fall, towards the end of each September. There are many areas around the lake but the most spectacular is the one in Ubaranai, which we want to share today. See natures stunning red carpet by visiting Hokkaido in the fall.
The glasswort fields of Lake Notoro in Ubaranai
In eastern Hokkaido’s Abashiri National park is Lake Notoro, famous for its glasswort fields. Every year, the fields start reddening around the beginning of September, and really explode in color towards the end of the month to the start of the next, which is the best time to visit. Of the four fields in, Ubaranai, Notoro, Misaki, and Heiwa, the picture is of the Ubaranai field which has well-tended walkways. The roads to this field are well cared for as well giving it easy access, and a perfect place to stop by when visiting eastern Hokkaido. The other untouched fields are also worth it to travel to if visiting by car.
What is glasswort?
Glasswort (Sango-sou in Japanese), which turns the Notoro lakeside bright red is scientifically known as Salincornia europaea (Akkeshi-sou in Japanese), growing widely in many subarctic areas. Akkeshi is derived from the name of Hokkaido’s Atsukeshi area. The grass is named so by being discovered in the Atsukeshi area during the Meiji period. Only growing between 15 and 30cm it is a small plant, green in the summer but when autumn rolls in it turns a purplish crimson. What’s unique about this plant is it is a strongly halophilous plant and excels at living in salt marsh areas. Although called Lake Notoro, in actuality it is a lagoon, and therefore perfect for glasswort.
The amazing sky’s reflection in the water shatters the crimson carpet.
Usually to see the autumn red and blue sky we turn our heads up but here you look down. There are many puddles of water as the lakeside is marshy. In each puddle there you will find the amazing blue skies that dominate these northern lands. Bright red surrounds these reflections of the heavens above. Nothing less of spectacular and a must see.
The Notoro Lake, Ubranai glasswort field view in 2013
In 2010 the Ubaranai glasswort field shrunk due to the park maintenance. Since then the Ubaranai Tourist Association, and Ubaranai Neighborhood Association along with the city of Abashiri have been working together with wildlife experts to return these fields to their former glory. The picture above is the field in 2013 showing the results of those efforts for us to enjoy the bright red fields. The other fields are untouched and if you are traveling by car you can enjoy the natural crimson fields with just a quick drive.
In the near future we can expect to see the fully recovered beauty of the Ubaranai fields. To see how humans and nature cooperate and to experience the progress we highly suggest visiting the Notoro Lake Ubaranai fields.
Digging for clams at Lake Notoro!
Not only can you enjoy the glasswort fields at Lake Notoro, between April 15th and October 15th, you can dig for clams here too for free. The area available to the public is the 5km of shoreline between the Futami-ga-oka and Fukou fishing ports. How does digging for tasty clams in Hokkaido sound? Sounds great to us!
*for details check the link in the below ??????????
The Ubaranai glasswort fields are accessible from the Abashiri bus terminal or taking the Tokoro Saroma-ko Sakae-ura bus line for 20 minutes and getting off at the “Sango-so Iriguchi” stop. From urban Abashiri its only a 15 minute drive so a taxi is also an option.
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