“Omiwatari” – Passage of the Gods

Lake Suwa's Omiwatari

Lake Suwa's Omiwatari

Omiwatari from previous year

Omiwatari happens in Lake Suwa this year, too.
This is a natural phenomenon in Lake Suwa, Nagano Prefecture. When the whole lake got frozen, the ice on the lake cracks in a night because ice shrinks when cooling. Water seeps through a crack and it turns to a thin layer of ice. The expansion of the ice during daytime breaks the layer, and the broken ice heaves. Repeating the cycle of ice expansion and contraction due to daily temperature variations makes omiwatari. Shinto priests will judge a fortune about a good or bad harvest for the year by the traces of omiwatari.
According to a legend, omiwatari was the route that a male god took to visit a female god.
If you come to Japan winter, you may want to visit to Lake Suwa to see this fantasy event.

24. January 2013 by Katsuyuki
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