Lake Suwa in Nagano Prefecture is the scene of a curious natural phenomenon which results in ridges of ice erupting out of the frozen surface.

These days, if not for the hot spring monkeysNagano Prefecture may come to mind for its turn as the Winter Olympics host city exactly 20 years ago. Its prefectural area includes the Kiso Mountains, which form part of the range referred to as the “Japanese Alps.” The mountains are in turn the site of Lake Suwa, a destination that has been receiving increased attention as the supposed inspiration for the lake featured in 2016’s animated cultural revolution Your Name.

Speaking of Lake Suwa, there’s an ancient belief revolving around a natural phenomenon that occurs there every winter. When the lake’s surface freezes, pressure ridges form on the ice due to the presence of a natural hot spring beneath its waters. This awe-inspiring sight is known as omiwatari, which can be rendered into English along the lines of “gods’ crossing.” According to local lore, the ridges are actually the pathways of the gods as they travel between the four building complexes of the Suwa Grand Shrine located on opposite sides of the lake.

It’s one thing to read about and another to experience the exact moment when omiwatari occurs with your own eyes. This year, one of those moments was incredibly recorded and uploaded by YouTube user nekonekomyano1. The video has since been spreading over the Internet like, well, a growing crack in thin ice since the end of last month:

▼ The actual moment this particular pressure ridge erupts can be viewed from two angles at 1:10 and 2:16.

Isn’t the foreboding sound of rattling right before the fissures emerge particularly eerie? That must have been quite a lengthy procession of divine spirits!

Interestingly, Japanese net users responded to the video in largely polarizing ways. Some berated the uploader for ignoring the local town’s signs that forbid people from walking on the ice due to changing conditions, while others noted the close proximity of the shore and thanked them for sharing this moment that would otherwise be inaccessible to those in other parts of the country.

For another odd but intriguing view of Nagano’s lakes, check out the frozen waves spotted a bit to the north at Lake Kizaki a few years back.

Source, featured image: YouTube/nekonekomyan01