Photo By: Maureen Del Rosario
Region
Kanto
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Saitama
Population
6,938,004

Icicles of Ashigakubo

Chichibu’s icy winter wonderland attraction!

Instead of the usual shimmering Christmas decorations, cold temps and delicate ice are the keys to making this unique winter attraction in Saitama Prefecture.

The Icicles of Ashigakubo (Ashigakubo no Tsurara), in Yokoze Town, is a quick winter getaway not too far from Tokyo. From January to February, visitors can get a glimpse of these amazing man-made ice formations that can be viewed day or night.

Photo by: Maureen Del Rosario The icy neon feel of the place!

How is it made?

Since 2014, this new yet popular site is actually created by locals every year. The spectacle is made by spraying water onto to the town’s small hill, until the freezing weather crystallizes it. As soon as night falls, it is then illuminated with vibrant lights.

Although it’s artificially made, Yokoze’s fresh take on Japanese winter illumination is still an enchanting view to witness. Plus, it’s only an hour and a half train ride from Ikebukuro, in northern Tokyo.

Highlights

Once the radiant purple, blue, green and red lights hits the monstrous-looking frost of Ashigakubo, it becomes a romantic and photogenic spot. Children, on the other hand, will just be fascinated with its peculiar shapes.

In addition, a train passing by from time to time gives an even more dramatic effect to the icicle’s unusual beauty. Visitors can truly savor this scenery as they saunter around, but they can have the best view upon reaching the hilltop.

There, they could finally relax and warm themselves right by the wood-burning heaters while they drink amazake (traditional sweet rice drink) or hot tea. This treat is included in the ¥300 entrance fee.

Souvenirs and food

As a part of the picturesque Chichibu district, Yokoze is surrounded by mountains and rich greeneries. There are no stores at the venue, but you can buy some of its fresh produce at the station’s souvenir shop that is only 10 minutes on foot from the venue. It also sells handcrafted home decors and locally made food items like honey and pudding that is worth checking out.

Photo by: Maureen Del Rosario Check out the night illumination until 8 p.m.

Moreover, there are food stalls at the train station where you can have oden, soba noodles and other Japanese dishes. These will surely warm you up and prepare you on your journey to the icicles, or get it as a cozy meal before heading back home.

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Things To Know

Hours & Details

It is open daily from  9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Then on Fridays, Saturday, Sunday, and holidays the light event is held from sunset until 8 p.m. Note: The schedule might change depending on the weather. For more details please visit http://www.yokoze.org/shisetsu/hyoutyuu/ (Japanese only).

How To Get There

Address

1955-5 Ashigakubo, Yokoze-machi, Chichibu-gun, Saitama-ken 368-0071, Japan

By train

From Ikebukuro, take the train in Seibu line going to Hanno. Transfer to Seibu-Chichibu and get-off at Ashigakubo Station. From there, it’s a 10-minute walk. Note: You can also get the train bound for Nagatoro, which has no transfer; however, it’s only available around 7-8 a.m.

By car

Use Highway 299 and head to the Road Station (Michi-no-Eki) Ashigakubo Kaju Koen. The locale is about a few mintues’ drive from Ashigakubo station. Free parking is available. Free parking is available.

By foot

About a 16-minute walk fromAshigakubo station.

Where To Stay

Hotel Route-Inn Chichibu
  • Nosaka-machi 2-3-18 Chichibu-Shi, Saitama 368-0033
  • 7.5/10
  • 4.4 km
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Hotel Miyama
  • Yamada 1294-1 Chichibu-Shi, Saitama 368-0004
  • 7.6/10
  • 4.7 km
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Daiichi Hotel Chichibu
  • Miyakawacho 5-1 Chichibu-Shi, Saitama 368-0046
  • 7.8/10
  • 4.9 km
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  • 〒357-0217 SaitamaHanno-Shi
  • 8.9/10
  • 5.1 km
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