Japan is a country where the four seasons can be enjoyed. Among them, winter is a particularly special season to immerse yourself in the beautiful snowy magical world. However, you often have to go deep into the mountains to see such snow or travel further up north and it's quite bothersome for those thinking of a spontaneous day trip. That’s when this icicles of Ashigakubo is the perfect destination as it can be reached by train in as little as 83 minutes from Ikebukuro station in Tokyo. This convenience makes these icicles so popular that during the season between early January to mid-February, many hops on the train and visit the area to see its beauty.
Three Greatest Icicles in Chichibu
The icicles of Ashigakubo are an art annually created by the residents. Of the three, the icicles of Ashigakubo is far the one most easily accessible by train. All of the other places to see the icicles in Chichibu are located deep in the mountains and are usually visited by car, but this spot is only a 10-minute walk from Ashigakubo Station on the Seibu Chichibu Line, making it the most convenient spot for transportation. The path is well marked and easy for many to walk, however, due to ice, it might get slippery. Especially during the night, the area is relatively dark so extra caution is required.
The icicles, artificially created by sprinkling stream water on the slope of the mountain, are about 30 meters high and 200 meters wide. A winding path leads the visitors to see the icicles from multiple angles: looking down from the top, looking up from the bottom, and also, being able to touch them. Once going up the path to the very top, there is a platform with a mini store selling warm drinks.
From glistening in the sunlight before noon to a spectacular light-up show after sunset, the icicles give out a different beauty all day. The light up show is only available over the weekend during the season between early January to mid February.
One of the highlights here is to take a photo with a train running very close to the icicles. The best time to take photos is when two limited express trains and four regular trains pass by per hour. Since there are not that many trains, it is best to check the timetable in advance. In some years, the timetable is available on the spot.
From Ikebukuro, take the Seibu line going to Hanno. Transfer to Seibu-Chichibu and get-off at Ashigakubo Station. From there, it’s a 10-minute walk. The icicles are held yearly from early January to mid February usually between 9:00am to 20:00pm