As December rolls in, Lake Nukabira in central Hokkaido, Japan, has started to freeze. Situated at an elevation of around 550 meters, this man-made lake usually begins to ice over in the latter half of December. This year, however, the lake's lower water levels and recent intense cold snaps have accelerated the freezing process.
Spanning an abandoned railway track on the lake is the Taushubetsu Bridge, also known as the 'Phantom Bridge'. It's so named because of its annual cycle of submersion and re-emergence, and its imminent risk of collapse. But this winter, it seems the bridge will face the severe cold without being submerged, a rare occurrence in its history.
In the heart of Daisetsuzan National Park in Hokkaido, Japan, a substantial snowfall hints at the impending long winter. The forests are now enshrouded in snow, a tranquil white blanket heralding the season's change.
Around Lake Nukabira, situated at an altitude of approximately 550 meters, the temperatures dip below freezing at dawn and dusk, gently forming a thin layer of ice
on the still waters of the lake. The ice patterns, ever-changing, embody the essence of 'once upon a winter' - a winter's unique encounter, never to be replicated. Each pattern is a fleeting
masterpiece, visible only once in a lifetime.
Each winter brings its own unique moments and scenes. So I always look forward to the coming of winter.
The Taushubetsu Bridge, known as the 'Phantom Bridge', is on the verge of complete submersion. As the lake freezes over, the bridge will truly become a phantom, hidden until it reemerges next year, continuing its cycle of ephemeral existence.