Notsuke Peninsula: Harsh Winters and Rich Seas *RERUN
Japan's northernmost major island -- Hokkaido Prefecture. Stretching out into the sea on the island's east coast is the Notsuke Peninsula. It is 26 kilometers long, but just 20 meters wide at its narrowest point. Made from sand carried on the ocean currents, its shape is gradually changing. Here lies a paradise for both birds and wild animals. When the wind is just right, fishermen can take countless riches from the sea. During the winter, the temperature remains below zero for months on end. Everything is frozen by the snow and icy winds. Over the years, people have continued to live here, despite the harsh conditions. This is the story of a peninsula surrounded by snow and ice.

Net-fishing under the Ice

During the winter, temperatures may fall to minus 20 degrees Celsius for four months in a row. Some of the town's fishermen wait for the blizzard to subside before heading out onto the frozen sea to fish. They first cut open a hole in the 20-centimeter thick ice, and then, set a net in the water. Sometimes, a single night's catch is as much as one ton of fish. Even when frozen, the Notsuke Sea is a rich fishing ground. In the Notsuke Bay, there are a number of deep areas fish commonly pass through. The key to a successful fishing is to find these areas through a combination of knowledge and instinct.

The Square Sun

Amateur photographers from across Japan have gathered at a hotel in Notsuke. Many have large bags, and are prepared for a long stay. They're waiting for the chance to see a square sun. This phenomenon is only visible on particularly cold mornings. The square sun is a type of mirage produced by the temperature difference between the air and the seawater.

Leave It All to the Wind

A sea of green stretches out across the bay. This species of seagrass, Marine Eelgrass, lives in calm, clean waters. The forests of seagrass are a cradle of life. Hokkai Shrimp is a species of shrimp that lays its eggs among the Marine Eelgrass. The shrimp in Notsuke are said to be particularly delicious. The fishermen use a unique method for catching the shrimps. They drag nets from sailing boats. The boats do not use engines and rely solely on winds because a turning propeller would damage the sea grass. This method of fishing has been passed down for generations, among the fishermen who respect their local environment. If the wind dies down, sometimes they cannot catch anything. However, the fishermen leave everything to the wind as their boats glide on the water.