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Lake Suwa (諏訪湖, Suwa-ko) is a lake in the Kiso Mountains, in the central region of Nagano Prefecture, Japan.

Lake Suwa
Lake Suwa is located in Japan
Lake Suwa
Lake Suwa
Location in Japan
LocationNagano prefecture
Coordinates36°02′54″N 138°05′03″E / 36.04833°N 138.08417°E / 36.04833; 138.08417
Native namesuwa-ko (諏訪湖)
Primary inflows31 small rivers of the Kiso Mountains
Primary outflowsTenryū River
Basin countriesJapan
Surface area13.3 km2 (5.1 sq mi)
Average depth4.7 m (15 ft)
Max. depth7.2 m (24 ft)
Shore length115.9 km (9.9 mi)
Surface elevation759 m (2,490 ft)
SettlementsOkaya, Suwa, Shimosuwa
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.



The lake is the source of the Tenryū River. It ranks 24th in lake water surface area in Japan. The cities of Suwa and Okaya and the town of Shimosuwa are located on the shores of Lake Suwa.


Lake Suwa is the site of a natural phenomenon known as the "God's Crossing" (御神渡り, o-miwatari). The lake has a natural hot spring under its surface. When the lake's surface freezes in the winter, its lower waters are still circulating. This results in ice pressure ridges forming in the surface ice, reaching heights of 30 centimetres (1 ft) or more.[citation needed]

Local Shinto tradition holds that the ridges are formed by the gods crossing the lake, when travelling between the various buildings of the Suwa Grand Shrine. Folklore says it is the guardian god of Suwa, Takeminakata-no-kami, leaving his sanctuary to meet with his wife, the goddess Yasakatome, joining the opposite bank by walking on frozen water.[citation needed]

Natural historyEdit

Research on ice breakup on the lake and at the mouth of the Torne River in Finland suggested "global processes including climate change and variability are driving the long-term changes in ice seasonality."[1][2]

In popular cultureEdit

  • In the movie Kagemusha by Akira Kurosawa, Lord Shingen is buried in the lake.
  • In Autobiography of a Geisha, Sayo Masuda tries to drown herself in the lake as a child, but hesitates because she believes a dragon inhabits it.
  • In the anime Rurouni Kenshin, legend holds of an "Elixir of Immortality" that can be found somewhere in or around Lake Suwa. The main characters search for the elixir in the final season of the series and are followed by a band of evil German knights, seeking it for world domination.
  • In the anime film Kimi no Na wa by Makoto Shinkai the lake and scenery of Itomori town which is home to the heroine Mitsuha Miyamizu was modeled after this lake.[3]
  • The anime Blood-C takes place in a rural town located on the shore of the lake.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Sharma, Sapna; Magnuson, John J; Batt, Ryan D; Winslow, Luke A; Korhonen, Johanna; Aono, Yasuyuki (2016). "Direct observations of ice seasonality reveal changes in climate over the past 320–570 years". Scientific Reports. 6. doi:10.1038/srep25061. PMC 4844970. Article ID 25061. Retrieved 2016-05-07.
  2. ^ Bell, Jillian (2016-04-27). "Industrial Revolution strongly tied to earlier thaws, later freezes: study". CBC News. Retrieved 2016-05-07.
  3. ^

External linksEdit