Onouchi Hyakkei Icicles

Onouchi Hyakkei Icicles are one of three icicle winter spectacles of Chichibu. The icicles are located in Ogano Town, deep in the Okuchichibu mountain range. “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”.

2022 Onouchi Icicles

The official information has been released. After three years of a non-event, due to warm weather and then Coronavirus, finally the Onouchi icicles are back! And they will have night light up on select nights during the icicles prime viewing period. Last year, due to a cold spell in December, the icicles actually started forming earlier than normal. There is a cold spell on the way this week, so who knows they may form earlier than the average year. However, there is also the possibility that, like in 2019, the icicles could be later and / or melt early. We’ll just have to wait and see! But they set the official period for the 2022 Onouchi icicles as from Sunday January 9th to Sunday February 27th.

Last year, due to the pandemic and then the State of Emergency, Ogano town decided not to have an official event period. They did subsequently end up updating the site to show the conditions of the icicles though. By and large, the Onouchi Icicles are visible around the same time as the Ashigakubo and Misotsuchi icicles. That is, from early January to the end of February. However, Onouchi tend to stay formed longer than the other two. Its not unusual for them to still be frozen in the first week of March. Of course, weather plays a big part, so this is all subject to change depending on the weather conditions. Prime viewing though is generally from the end of January to early February.

(Featured photo from Saitama Prefecture Industry and Labor Department, Tourism Division)

Onouchi Icicles

The Onouchi icicles are in the Ogano town area of Chichibu district.  These icicles are made from an artificial flow of water. The icicles are then naturally formed by the climate of the area, it is just their water supply 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.

Onouch Hyakkei
Image from Ogano Town tourism website

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.

Information

2022 dates: from Sunday January 9th to Sunday February 27th

Hours: 8 am to 4 pm Sunday to Friday. The park is opened until 8 pm on the Saturdays and Sundays that the night light up is on…

Light up: the light up will be on Saturday and Sunday nights only from Saturday January 22nd to Sunday February 20th. From dusk to 8 pm.

Price: For the last three years, between the pandemic and the poor condition of the icicles due to warm weather, there was no charge into these icicles. Until 2019 it cost 200 yen for adults and high school aged children to enter the area the icicles are in. However, in 2022 it will be charged and costs 400 yen per adult.

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, in theory, you could visit all three icicles in the one day. The parking for the icicles are off route 299, down a country road from Ryutou shrine. They used to charge for parking, 500 yen a day, but currently there is no mention of parking fees.

Address: 996-1, Kawarasawa, Ogano town Chichibu county (Map in the grey details box at the bottom of the post).

Ogano Town Official Tourism Website

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:

 

 

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