It’s Only Here in Hokkaido That You Can See Jewelry Ice!


Jewelry ice?

Have you ever seen “jewelry ice?” It is completely different from drift ice, made of not sea water but fresh water, and so, it’s highly transparent like a diamond. River water turns into ice on the surface at river mouth, and the ice pieces, before getting washed ashore, drift in the sea for a while, get rounded off, and are more brightly polished. According to Wikipedia, this natural phenomenon occurs only along the coast of a small town in Hokkaido even in all the wide world.

Last weekend I went to the coast to see jewelry ice. It’s more than 200 km away from my home. As I learned beforehand that dawn should be the best time to enjoy its beauty made by reflecting the morning sun, I stayed at a hotel nearby since the night before, arrived at the coast before 5 a.m., and waited for the dawn to come. It was so beautiful indeed, but what impressed me more was the number of people gathering at the coast, to be honest. There were more than 100 people (there were even some foreign people) in the middle of nowhere, very early morning in extremely cold weather. Some people even lied down on the ground pointing a huge camera to jewelry ice. For your information, the images uploaded here are ones I took on site. Please go to the official website of the small town if you want to check ones that show the true nature of jewelry ice.

Good naming makes a big sightseeing spot.

I was born and raised in Hokkaido but never heard of jewelry ice when I was young. As far as I remember, people came to talk about it after I returned from the main land of Japan to Hokkaido, like 10 years ago. My memory is correct. According to Wikipedia again, it was named as jewelry ice by a teacher working in the small town in 2012. Of course, it didn’t mean the natural phenomenon suddenly started in 2012. Jewelry ice has been always there from time immemorial, but no one paid any attention. Local people say they just played around jewelry ice pieces by kicking them at the coast when they were kids.

Don’t you think it’s amazing? It was once nothing but ice pieces abandoned on the coast. A local guy gave a beautiful name and shared some beautiful images of it, and a small nameless town becomes a big sightseeing spot where many people come even all the way from overseas. Jewelry Ice: the naming is so good. If it had been named as river ice or fresh-water ice, for example, it might not have attracted people’s attention like this. This is a great success not only in economic benefits. We can find and enjoy another beautiful natural phenomenon, local people would be proud of their home town more, and consequently economic benefits have been created because money is a form of appreciation.

To find new value

I know this is not only about good naming, not that simplistic. The point is how to find new value in common things or everyday occurrences, but my poor mind seems inflexible and clings to how to re-name or re-define our products (wooden furniture). How about jewelry wood?

A corporate logo, the letters of C and H are combined to look like a tree in a circle

Shungo Ijima

He is travelling around the world. His passion is to explain Japan to the world, from the unique viewpoint accumulated through his career: overseas posting, MBA holder, former official of the Ministry of Finance.