ashigakubo icicles

The Ashigakubo Icicles in 2022. The icicles are open to the public from Saturday January 8th to bank holiday Wednesday February 23rd 2022. There are years when the weather interferes! For example, in 2020, due to warmer than normal weather, the event ended up starting late and ending early. In 2021 they started on time, but finished up early also due to warm weather melting the icicles. However, according to the Local News Network, Yokoze tourist association say this year is the best condition the icicles have ever been since the event began in 2014.

Unlike Misotsuchi icicles, the Ashigakubo icicles were not lit up in January and February 2021, due to a State of Emergency in the prefecture at the time. However, Yokoze town have confirmed that they are planning to light up the icicles in 2022, dates below. Booking opened on December 14th 2021, the booking page is linked in the light up section below. In addition, this year for the first time, they will also light up the icicles in the morning for passengers on the Laview Express train.

Ashigakubo 2022

The Ashigakubo icicles are the baby in the family of the “3 great icicles of Chichibu”. They were only discovered six or seven years ago. Already they are attracting lots of visitors and lots of attention. They are not entirely natural – the locals help to create the scene in collaboration with Mother Nature! One of the icicles is 200 meters high and 30 meters wide.

There is a one way system to viewing the icicles which every visitor is expected to respect. There are areas where you can and can’t use tripods to take photos, which are marked at the site. In 2021 on account of the Coronavirus the organizers requested that people stay no longer than one hour. Unfortunately, it is the same in 2022.

They also requested that you wear a mask and refrain from talking. While they are asking people to wear masks again this year, there is currently no rule about talking. The (free) provision of tea and amazake was suspended in 2021 in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus. However, they are bringing back this “service” in 2022. But it will just be during the day, until 4 pm. Each day they distribute Yokoze amazake or black tea until it runs out. (Limited number each day).

Another big change last year was that if you wanted to visit on a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday between 1 and 7 pm you needed to make an advance reservation. However, for the 2022 season, they are not forcing reservations for day time visits. But you do need an advance reservation for the light up:

Light up

From the official website

The town are planning to light up the icicles again this year. The light up is only on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays during the period for the icicles formation. You need to have an advance reservation to see the icicles lit up at night. However, if you are planning to enter after 7 pm you don’t need a reservation. You can already book for the month of January. Last entry is 7.30 pm. They say the best viewing of the light up is around 5.30 pm during January and after 6 pm in February.

Usually during the last weekend of January and the first weekend of February they have additional special events on at the icicles. For example, in 2020 they had a special projection mapping event. Tickets for special events often cost extra per person. However, most years they also have a few live performances with no extra cost. At the moment, there is only one scheduled – a mini concert on February 6th at 1 pm, 3 pm and 6.15 pm. More will probably be added over the coming weeks.

A special collaboration was announced at a later date:

Collaboration with Seibu- Chichibu Line

On Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays during the period of the icicles, some limited express Laview will temporarily stop at Ashigakubo Station. The Laview Red Arrow Express normally passes through Ashigakubo without stopping. But in 2022 the Laview will temporarily stop at the station. You cannot disembark and / or enter the venue, but you can see the icicles lit up from the train, as the venue and the railroad tracks are adjacent to each other. The icicles will be lit up every day from 5:00 to 7:00 am and from 7 pm to midnight so that passengers on the Seibu-Chichibu Line’s Laview can enjoy the view from the train window.

Ashigakubo Icicles. Information for 2021
Image from the official website

Dates / Hours

The icicles are generally open to the public from the first week in January to the last week in February. Yokoze town generally release the expected dates around mid December. They have confirmed that in 2022 the icicles will be open to the public daily from 9 am to 4 pm from January 8th to February 23rd. On weekends they will open later for the light up. In January the light up starts at 5 pm and from 6 pm in February. It finishes at 8 pm.

Moreover, in 2022 for the first time, the icicles will be lit up until midnight and again from 5 am to 7 am for passengers of Laview to enjoy a view from the train. See “collaboration with Seibu – Chichibu line” two paragraphs above.

Cost

The price has gone up for the 2022 season. To visit during the day, anyone over the age of six is charged 400 yen (it used to be 300 yen). At night, tickets cost 500 yen for anyone over 12 years old. The price for elementary school aged children at night is 300 yen. There is no charge for children under seven years old, either by day or night.

The three great icicles of Chichibu

Ashigakubo Icicles are just one of “three great icicles of Chichibu”. The other two are Misotsuchi and Onouchi Icicles. Misotsuchi are the only completely natural icicles of all three. Although all three are in the Chichibu area, they are very far apart. It takes about an hour to get from one to the other. But if you are travelling by car you can in theory visit all three icicles in the same day.

Ashigakubo Icicles Access

Address: Ashigakubo, Yokoze, Chichibu District, Saitama 368-0071
Phone: +81494250450

The location is easier to get to than the better known Misotsuchi Icicles in neighbouring Chichibu, as unlike Misotsuchi these icicles are located relatively close to a train station. The Ashigakubo station, which is on the Seibu Chichibu Line, is about a ten to fifteen minute walk from the icicles. Google MAP and contacts in the grey details box at the bottom of the post.

Japan Travel have a detailed and enthusiastic report of an outing to the icicles (I have no affiliation to this website When I first wrote about the icicles I had no affiliation, but I do write for Japan Travel now! I linked this article before I worked for them).

First published in January 2017, republished December 2017, November 2018, October 2019, April 2020. December 2020. Last republish October 2021.

Misotsuchi Icicles

Onouchi Hyakkei Icicles

2 Comments

Comments are always appreciated...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.