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Yunishigawa Kamakura Festival

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Yunishigawa Kamakura Festival


A mesmerizing scenery of candle-lit snow huts that is a must-see!



A small hot spring town located in Nikko National Park, Tochigi Prefecture, Yunishigawa Onsen is surrounded by beautiful mountains and clear streams. This charming village is known for being the place where defeated warriors of the Heike lived in hiding after the Battle of Dan-no-Ura in 1185, the final battle of the Genpei War that lead to the fall of their prosperous clan and marked the end of the Heian period (794-1185).

Every year, from late January to late February, Yunishigawa Onsen turns into a winter wonderland for the Yunishigawa Kamakura Festival, the largest snow event in Nikko. During the festival, hundreds of kamakura (snow huts) are built around town and lit up with candles, creating a magical atmosphere. Yunishigawa Kamakura Festival was certified as a Night View Heritage of Japan and was also selected as one of the Breathtaking Places You Need to See Before You Die.



The main venue of the event is Heike no Sato, an open-air museum featuring thatched roof houses where you can learn about the Heike clan and feel as if you have slipped back in time to the Heian period. Snow huts of different sizes are set up in the park, and the entire area is wrapped in the gentle light of candles. Miniature candle-lit kamakura are also lined up at the Sawaguchi riverbed venue, creating a mesmerizing night scene.



After enjoying the festival, there is nothing better than relaxing in the abundant hot spring water of one of Yunishigawa Onsen’s traditional ryokan inns, where you can also taste the specialty irori-yaki, with mountain produce freshly grilled over a traditional hearth, and kaiseki, a variety of dishes using seasonal ingredients.



How to get there


From Utsunomiya Station on the Tohoku Shinkansen, take the JR Nikko Line to Imaichi Station (about 35 minutes), then walk about 10 minutes or take a taxi (about 5 minutes) to Tobu Shimo-Imaichi Station. Take the Tobu Kinugawa Line to Kinugawa Onsen Station (about 45 minutes), then the route bus for Yunishigawa Onsen (about 30 minutes).


Yunishigawa, Nikko-shi, Tochigi-ken



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