Illuminated Igloos in a Winter Wonderland
Enchanting night views at this winter festival in the hot spring paradise of Yunishigawa
Nestled in a narrow mountain valley not far from the famed shrine complex of Nikko (also a National Park), you'll find Yunishigawa Onsen, a hot spring resort perfect for resting a weary body after a day of exploration.
From late January to late February, the area plays host to one of Japan's most unique and delightful winter events, the Yunishikawa-onsen Kamakura Snow House Festival. Kamakura are best described as Japanese-style igloos, hollowed-out snow piles normally big enough for several people to enter. A true winter wonderland awaits visitors, with abundant snowfall and a host of delightful structures set up by local residents, including miniature illuminated kamakura, snowmen, slides, and more.
Little snowmen line the shopping street, and long rows of kamakura with lanterns set inside illuminate the town with a warm and lovely glow. Children are sure to love the snow slide, or if you want something more exhilarating, try sledding down snowy hills.
Designated as one of Japan’s Night View Heritages, the otherworldly sight of some 800 miniature kamakura lit up at the Sawaguchi Riverbed event is a special sight for Japanese people and international visitors alike.
Access: From Tokyo Station, take the Ueno-Tokyo Line to Kitasenju Station (about 20 minutes), then take the Tobu Railway to Yunishigawa Onsen Station (about two hours 20 minutes). The festival area is 20 minutes by bus from Yunishigawa Onsen Station to the final stop, then a 10-minute walk away.
Yunishikawa-onsen Kamakura Snow House Festival
1042 Yunishigawa, Nikko-shi, Tochigi-ken