Find out what’s on in Saitama this weekend with the best Saitama event list on the web. If its on in Saitama, its on insaitama.com!
**During the 2021 State of Emergency and Coronavirus Outbreak, events are subject to change and cancellation at a moment’s notice. Please do always check with the official website for any last minute changes or cancellations.**
The Otaki Ice festival in 2021・ Illuminated Misotsuchi Icicles
January 8, 2021 @ 08:00 – February 23, 2021 @ 21:00
The Otaki Ice festival, illuminated Misotsuchi Icicles in 2021 – One of the most famous, and beautiful, winter scenes of Saitama is at the Otaki Ice Festival – in the former Otaki village – in Chichibu. The Misotsuchi Icicles are the only naturally formed icicles of the three Great icicles of Chichibu. The icicles of Misotsuchi are lit up at night. Each year for about a month you can enjoy this spectacular view in Chichibu, the mountainous area of Western Saitama.
You can view the icicles from either the North side or South side of the Arakawa (Ara River). On the North side, which is more popular because of the convenience, the entrance is by the Woodroof campsite. On the south side the entrance (and parking) is at the Tsuchiuchi Camping grounds. However, Tsuchiuchi campsite have even more icicles – man-made, but equally impressive. Also, Tsuchiuchi serve hot food and drinks during the period of the Otaki ice festival. Please note that neither campsite take over night guests at that time of the year (season is from April to October).
In 2020 the icicles were late forming due to the milder weather and they never really formed properly so there was no entry fee last year. And for the same reasons they did not support the icicles during the week and only opened the icicles to visitors on the weekends. It is still too early to tell what the situation will be in 2021. Also, there is a chance that COVID-19 will have an effect on this event. But the icicle dates for 2021 have been tentatively set as January 8th to February 23rd, all things being equal.
Misotsuchi Icicles – The date for the 2021 icicles have tentatively be set for January 8th to February 23rd. During this period the area will be accessible from 8 am to 5 pm daily. However, if they have light up in 2021 the closing hours will be extended (information in the next paragraph). Generally, on the last two Saturdays of January they also have a market during the day. The light up dates and market days for 2021 have not yet been confirmed.
Misotsuchi Icicles Light up – From the official “open” period the icicles are usually lit up from 5 pm to 7 pm on weekdays. On the weekends the icicles are lit up until 9 pm.
Cost – The entrance fee for 2021 has been confirmed and it is the same as previous years – 200 yen for adults or high school aged children. There is no charge for younger children.
Misotsuchi Icicles Access
47 kilometers from the Hanazono Interchange of the Kanetsu expressway. The parking costs have been confirmed as 500 yen per car, 200 yen for a bike and 1000 yen for a bus. The Tsuchiuchi Camping Ground open their car park to the public during the period of the icicles. The camp ground itself is closed for the season and will open around the end of March or early April.
From Chichibu Tetsudo Chichibu Main Line Mitsumineguchi station take a Seibu Kanko bus headed to Lake Chichibu 「秩父湖」 . The “Misotsuchi” bus stop is the closest bus stop to the icicles. It is on the North side of the river.
Misotsuchi Icicles access from Tokyo:
Take a limited express train from Ikebukuro to Seibu Chichibu station, from there its about a 3 minute walk to Chichibu railway Mitsumineguchi station from where you get the bus.
In the area:
The famous Mitsumine Shrine, the stunning Toryu bridge, Oboragawatsuri Foot Bridge, Chichibu Lake and Futase Dam.
Other icicles that are illuminated in the area:
For even more events in Saitama please see the Saitama Events Calendar.
For more ideas of what you can do in Saitama in Winter:
Chichibu, Saitama 369-1901 Japan + Google Map https://www.chichibuji.gr.jp/
First published in November 2016. Updated annually. Last update; November 15th 2020.
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Events by their very nature are tentative. Please do check with the official sources for any last minute changes due to weather or other mitigating factors, particularly with the current Coronavirus outbreak.