Okamakobabibubebo | 15 10 2006
Okamako, Okama Lake, is a 320m lake in a crater, created from a volcanic eruption in the 1720s. Okamako is on Mt. Zao in Yamagata prefecture and about and hour or two from Sendai. It is also known as the “Five Color Swamp” (五色沼, goshiki numa) because depending on the season and the weather the lake changes color.
To be honest, it should also be known as “usually too cloudy to see but still beautiful lake,” because most of the time it is really cloudy and you can only catch glimpses of the ever changing lake. I was there for about 4 hours and could actually “see” the shy lake for a total of about 3 minutes maybe and these are by “see” I kind of mean catch a glimpse. I am not sure if there is really anyway to find out what the weather is like before going, because I went twice on sunny days but Okamako is so high up on Mount Zao that on a sunny day it was cloudy there (see the very bottom photo). On the other hand, the other photos, taken by Laura Kumataka, were taken on a cloudy and a little rainy day, but again, Okamako is so high up she got above the clouds. Maybe the secret is going on a rainy day and just hope you can get above the clouds.
Anyway, if you are close by, Okamako and Mt. Zao are great places for hiking in the summer, spring and fall and skiing or snowboarding in the winter and of course nice place to photograph all year long but the best time is during the fall; however, in the winter, Zao is famous for trees getting covered and frozen in snow and having the appearance of “snow monsters,” which make for some interesting photos. Below is another photo of Okamako to give you an idea how cloudy it can be…when the sun is shining everywhere else!
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Shabu Shabu and Sukiyaki