Lake Aokiko is nestled just south of Hakuba and is by far one of the most beautiful lakes I’ve ever seen. What makes this lake so amazing is the rich, teal color of the water. It’s a snow-melt fed lake that is one of the purist lakes in all of Japan. Nothing with a motor is allowed out on this lake, preserving it’s crystal clear state. The locals also believe that the water is so cold it will stop your heart. Although, in the summer time, it’s the perfect temperature for swimming, so don’t let that deter you.
One company in Hakuba offering an array of summertime activities is Evergreen Outdoor which is run by a fluent English speaker and a couple of young, cool Japanese guys. Their packages include white-water rafting, canyoning, and the like. Their prices are competitive, but not necessarily cheap. However, if you have the means, I highly recommend it. Kris and I decided on the nighttime firefly tour.
It was an hour long tour in a canoe with 10 other people, but we went with the owner who kindly translated everything for us. Fireflies like a clean environment and warm summer days. Lake Aokiko is were they all seem to flock. As we approached the banks, the trees seemed to glitter with all the fireflies. Not unlike faeries, they flew around our heads and landed in nearby trees to show off their brilliant lights. The combination of lights and the stillness of the lake at night made for an unforgettable ride.