Icicles of Ashigakubo
Chichibu’s icy winter wonderland attraction!
- 2020 Dates: Jan. 5 to Feb. 24
- Mon to Thurs 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Fri, Sat, Sun until 8 p.m. The nighttime lights are from sunset on Fri through Sun only.
- Due to warm weather, very few icicles have formed in winter 2020. For more updates, please visit the official website.
The Icicles of Ashigakubo (Ashigakubo no Tsurara) in the town of Yokoze are the perfect winter getaway from Tokyo. Here, visitors can see amazing artificial ice formations from January to February.
It’s one of the Three Great Icicles of Chichibu, which includes the Icicles of Onouchi and the Icicles of Misotsuchi. While all three possess their own distinct beauty, the Icicles of Ashigakubo are the most easily accessible.
How are the icicles made?
This popular attraction has popped up every year since 2015, thanks to the locals. They make the frozen structures by spraying water on a small hill until it becomes crystallized in the freezing weather. At night, it becomes illuminated with vibrant lights.
Although artificially made, Yokoze’s fresh take on Japanese winter illuminations is an impressive and enchanting sight. Plus, the train ride only takes an hour and a half from Ikebukuro in northern Tokyo.
Once the radiant purple, blue, green, and red lights hit the icicles, they create a romantic—almost surreal—photogenic spot for couples. Likewise, children become absolutely wide-eyed, staring at the mesmerizing lights and shapes.
A train passing by from time to time creates even more of a dramatic effect on the icicle’s dreamy atmosphere. Visitors can savor the scenery as they wander around, but the best view is right on the hilltop.
On the hilltop, visitors can relax and warm themselves by a wood-burning stove while they drink amazake (sweet fermented rice drink) or hot tea. This treat is included in the ¥300 entrance fee.
As a part of the scenic Chichibu district, Yokoze is surrounded by mountains and lush greenery. Although there are no stores at Ashigakubo, there is a souvenir shop at the station 10 minutes away that sells local produce such as honey and handcrafted goods.
Lastly, there are food stalls at the train station where you can enjoy hot oden (stew), soba noodles, and other traditional Japanese winter foods. They’re sure to warm your bones on the way to the icicles or serve as a hearty meal before heading back home.