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**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.**
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Updated: Onouchi Icicles in Ogano, 2021 | CHICHIBU
January 9, 2021 @ 08:00 – February 23, 2021 @ 16:00
Onouchi Hyakkei Icicles are one of three icicle winter spectacles of Chichibu. “Hyakkei” means hundred and the Saitama Prefectural Tourism website translates the icicles name as Onouchi Hundred Icicles. However, the icicles are most commonly referred to as the Romanized version of their Japanese name. But in 2021 Chichibu announced that they have changed the name to just “Onouchi Icicles” from this year (2021).
Due to the colder than normal winter, the icicles actually formed at the end of December this season. A stark contrast to last year, when the warmer than normal winter in 2019/2020 resulted in the cancellation of the event due to the lack of ice. This year things are quite different than usual. For one, the official website said that there is no official event period this year. They are updating the site to show the (favorable thankfully) conditions of the icicles.
(Featured photo from Saitama Prefecture Industry and Labor Department, Tourism Division)
The Onouchi icicles are in the Ogano town area of Chichibu district. These icicles where made from an artificial flow of water. The icicles are naturally formed by the climate of the area, it is just their water supply that is artificial. And the locals work strategically to control the flow and thus the formation of the icicles. The locals are well praised for not only their ingenuity, but their hospitality. In a “normal” (non Coronavirus year) you can receive amezake for free and they have a bonfire lit where visitors can warm themselves.
While they may not be natural icicles, they are breathtaking. The suspension bridge that runs in front of the icicles adds not only to the scenery, but to the ambiance and thrill of visiting these icicles. You can get up close to the icicles thanks to the suspension bridge. You can’t use the suspension bridge after sunset.
The icicles are open to the public between early January and the end of February or early March. In a normal year, light up is generally from the end of January 25th until the middle of February on Saturdays only. However, the candles and bamboo displays are there for the whole period. But due to the Coronavirus they are not currently planning to have light up this year and there is no mention of the bamboo displays. Generally you can see the formations until early March.
Price: Due to all the changes this year, 2021, there is no charge. Normally it costs 200 yen for adults and high school aged children
Hours: 8 am to 4 pm Sunday to Friday. The park is opened until 8 pm on most Saturdays for the night light up except in 2021 on account of the coronavirus.
Light up: They’ve a note on their website to say they don’t plan to have light up this year.
Access Onouchi Hyakkei Icicles
The icicles are very hard to get to by public transport, but some say it’s worth the effort. You need to get a train to Seibu Chichibu station and then take three buses. First you take a bus for the Ogana City office. From there you transfer to a bus terminus “Ogana shako”. You transfer there to a bus for Sakamoto. All in all it takes over an hour and you have to be careful about the bus times as they are very infrequent. It is highly recommended that you use a tour bus or come by car.
If you are driving you could visit all three icicles in the one day. The icicles are off route 299, down a country road from Ryutou shrine. Parking costs 500 yen.
Address: 996-1, Kawarasawa, Ogano town Chichibu county (Map in the grey details box at the bottom of the post).
The three great icicles of Chichibu
Of the three icicle displays in Chichibu, only one of them is completely natural. The Misotsuchi icicles in the Otaki area of Chichibu are Oku Chichibu’s only naturally formed winter beauty spot . The water freezes coming over rock to create the stunning natural ice sculptures.
The Ashigakubo Icicles are the easiest to get to by public transport:
Onouchi Hyakkei Icicles
Chichibu District,, Saitama Prefecture 368-0113 Japan + Google Map 0494-79-1100
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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.