ice skating natural ice rink Tokigawa

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 rink was initially expected to open a little earlier than normal for the 2024 season, but the warmer than usual weather ended up delaying it. They finally released the 2024 information on December 27th. Please note – the bus route has changed and it is now quite a feat to get to the rink by public transport!

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.

Kasa Natural Ice Rink Tokigawa
New Years Eve 2021

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!

The reception building where you get skates and can buy cup noodles at Kasa Skate Rink in Tokigawa
The reception building of Kasa Rink

Tokigawa Natural Ice Rink Season 2024

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. However, due to the warmer than normal winter the information wasn’t released until much later than normal. They hope to start the 2024 season on Saturday December 30th 2023. 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 again in 2023!

Season

From Saturday December 30th 2023 to (all things equal) Sunday February 11th 2024 officially, but they are planning to open on February 12th too. From December 30th to January 8th it is open daily, but after January 8th it only opens on Saturdays and Sundays. The rinks hours are from 9 am to 4 pm. As it is a natural rink, there are times when the conditions of the rink aren’t good enough for skating. In 2024 they are not updating their twitter. Instead, you need to click on a photo on the official page on Tokigawa town website to see whether they are opening that day. According to that photo on February 11th they will actually open on Monday February 12th too.

kasa skate rink 2024

Other 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: Unfortunately in 2023 the bus route has changed. The furthest you can get a bus is to the Seseragi bus center and that’s from Myokaku Station. From the Seseragi bus center they run shared taxis, but you need to book in advance. The taxi goes to the former Shohoji bus stop「正法寺」for a fixed rate per person . The rink is about a five minute walk from the former bus (now taxi!) stop.

Free parking for up to 40 cars, over 3 separate car parks close to the rink.

Official website.

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

First published in 2017 on the events calendar. Moved to the main blog, updated and republished on December 31st 2021. Last update December 28th 2023.

5 Comments

  1. Hi!

    I searched for the bus route from Ogawamachi station, but unfortunately couldn’t find any information…
    Could you please post a link or something? Japanese is ok!

    Thank you in advance!

    Ildi

    1. Author

      Hi, it looks like the bus route has completely changed this year :-O Thanks for the heads up. According to the official website (same as the one linked in the post) the bus no longer goes to Shohoji, you have to get a shared taxi, which needs to be booked in advance, from the Seseragi bus center. You can get a bus to Seseragi bus center from Myokaku station (one of the most beautiful train stations).

  2. Author

    Hi, it looks like the bus route has completely changed this year :-O Thanks for the heads up. According to the official website (same as the one linked in the post) the bus no longer goes to Shohoji, you have to get a shared taxi, which needs to be booked in advance, from the Seseragi bus center. You can get a bus to Seseragi bus center from Myokaku station (one of the most beautiful train stations).

Comments are always appreciated...

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