Finished today, February 11th, for the 2023 season.
Kasa Natural Outdoor Ice Rink, Tokigawa. Sorry for the clickbait heading; truth is Kasa Rink is not just the best natural ice rink in Saitama, its the only one!! Moreover, as we lose more and more seasonal ice rinks in Saitama Prefecture, it is one of only handful of places you can skate outdoors in winter. So when the rink was closed for three years – first from damage from typhoon Hagibis (2019), then from the pandemic – it was sorely missed. Last year it almost didn’t open either, but they decided last minute to open it. Much to the delight of locals, and the throngs of Kanto-jin that travelled especially to enjoy the unique winter scenery of Nishidaira in Tokigawa.
The 2023 season opening date was released on December 18th…
But first; you might also like…
- Winter fun at the seasonal outdoor Numakage Ice Rink – already open for the 2023 season
- Booking now open for Ashigakubo Icicles in 2023
- 10 Things to Do in Japan in January
Kasa Natural Outdoor Ice Rink
Each year, local volunteers in Tokigawa band together to turn a natural ice pool into a suitable skate rink. As its a natural rink, there are no sides around the rink. But never fear if you are beginner – what they have is infinitely better. You can push a chair around the rink! And / or, as my kids like to do, push someone else around the rink! However, if you are very tall it might be hard going on your back.
This is the only natural outdoor ice rink I know of in Saitama. However, as it is natural ice, they advise extra precaution. They lend guards and helmets for children at the reception area. That is where you can hire skates too. Its also no problem to bring your own skates; many people do. They also sell cup noodles there and provide boiling water (self service) in the reception building, pictured below. There are a couple of other snacks and you can get hot drinks, but it is very basic so its best to avoid coming on an empty stomach!
Tokigawa Natural Ice Rink Season 2023
The town of Tokigawa don’t release the expected opening date of the ice rink until very near the time. Usually the first notification comes around mid December. This year, on December 18th 2022 the organizers tweeted to say they are preparing the rink for the 2023 season. They hope to start the 2023 season on December 30th 2022. The date is tentative as they have to watch the conditions and situation at the lake. There have been times the rink has opened as early as Christmas, but more often than not it is around the 1st of January.
The earliest I remember the rink starting was Christmas eve 2017. At the time, the Tokigawa government wrote on their website : “A Christmas present from Russian Winter”「冬将軍からのクリスマスプレゼント」. The closing date is also only decided close to the time: dependent on the condition of the rink. The rink stays in business as long as the ice is frozen. It normally begins to thaw in early February. But in 2022 they predicted the season would probably last until late February. However, due to the snow on February 10th 2022, they tweeted on the morning of public holiday February 11th to say the rink would not open that day. Moreover, they decided to end the 2022 season. And the EXACT same thing happened this year, 2023!
From December 30th to January 9th it is open daily, but after January 9th it only opens on Saturdays and Sundays. The rinks hours are from 9 am to 4 pm weekends and holidays only. As it is a natural rink, there are times when the conditions of the rink aren’t good enough for skating. They recommend you check their twitter account on the day you hope to visit for the latest information.
Cost: 500 yen for high school students and adults, 200 yen for children. Skate rental is also 500 yen for high school students and adults, 200 yen for children.
Address: Nishidaira, Tokigawa machi, Hiki District, Saitama 355-0364. Telephone: 0493-67-0853
Access: Bus from JR Hachiko Line Ogawamachi Station or Ogose Station to Shohoji 「正法寺」 . The rink is a five minute walk from the bus stop. ※Shohoji now features on the blog too, since December 18th 2022. Check it out here!
Free parking for up to 40 cars, over 3 separate car parks close to the rink.
In the area
Right by the ice rink there is a stable for retired horses, where you can feed the horses carrots.
Other attractions in Tokigawa
- Donguri Yama Totoro – 1 of 3 Totoro spots in Saitama
- Daffodils, Wintersweet, a giant Cedar… and Catbus Bus Stop!
- Peach blossoms Tokigawa
- Sanba Gorge
- Award winning Showa Retro Tamagawa Hot Springs
- Washi making workshop
- Comoriver glamping cafe and glamping site
First published in 2017 on the events calendar. Moved to the main blog, updated and republished on December 31st 2021. Last update December 18th 2022.
and here today it was 37 degrees and 39 yesterday!
I’ll definitely take the cold over the heat! 39 degrees 😮 I’d melt!!