Winter wonderland makes a surprise appearance in the middle of August during Japan’s hottest summer ever.

We can’t over-emphasize how hot Japan is this summer. Anime figures have melted and food has been cooked on car roofs as the intense rays of the sun mercilessly roast the nation.

A time-tested strategy to beat the heat is to take a trip to Hokkaido during summer vacation. Aside from expansive bucolic views and an unhurried atmosphere, Japan’s northern island is always several degrees cooler than the Tokyo area, making it a great destination for those who spend summer wishing they were in the spring or autumn instead. Right now, though, there’s one part of Hokkaido that looks positively wintery.

The above photos were posted by Rinyu Kanko, the travel provider that operates the Daisetsuzan Sounkyo Kurodake Ropeway and manages its official Twitter account (@rinyu_kurodake). The snow-covered snapshots were taken on the morning of August 17, the same day on which Tokyo was 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) and Nagoya, another of Japan’s largest cities, was 35 Celsius (95 Fahrenheit).

Seen in the background is Kurodake Ishimuro, a lodge built at an altitude of 1,900 meters (6,234 feet) in the Daisetsuzan mountain range (Daisetsuzan meaning, appropriately, “Big Snowy Mountains”). The lodge is about a 700-foot walk from the peak of the mountain it sits on, and freezing overnight temperatures coincided with early-morning rainfall, blanketing the area in snow despite there still being a few weeks of summer left.

The frozen scenery represents the earliest snowfall since records began being kept in 1974, coming four days earlier than the previous mark of August 21 in 2002. Beautiful as it is, visitors to the area are advised to be careful of their footing, as rain continues to fall on the icy terrain, and to take cautions against hypothermia, since staying clothed is just as important in cold conditions as it is in hot ones.

Related: Daisetsuzan Sounkyo Kurodake Ropeway
Source: Twitter/@rinyu_kurodake, Livedoor News/ via Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Twitter/@rinyu_kurodake