Yunishigawa Onsen in Tochigi prefecture is famous for hosting the annual Kamakura Festival from late January to early March. The main venue of the event is "Heike no Sato", a village that showcases the livelihood of the old Taira Clan (Heike) . This event which features hundreds of mini Kamakura (snow candle house) along the riverbed - Sawaguchi Kasenjiki has been designated as Japan's Nightscape Heritage. The overwhelming numbers of Kamakura with candles lit inside not only adds colour and brightness to the white canvas-like riverbed but also creates a beautiful contrast against the pitch-dark night sky, inviting one into a fantasy world. The festival can be enjoyed throughout the town - there are other Kamakuras of different size and elaborated snowmen. During the day, why not build snowmen? You can also have fun barbecuing in Kamakura with reservation. Normally the town is a heavenly place with tranquillity. Why not have one night stay at a Ryokan (Japanese inn) there? - a great escape from the hustle and bustle of your citylife. What you shouldn’t miss is a unique Onsen experience only during winter - at an open-air bath when snow falls onto your head while your body is soaking in the hot bath. You can also experience Japanese winter activities like enjoying Nabe (hotpot), skiing, warming yourself with a Kotatsu (table heater) and trying your hand at making Mochi (sticky glutinous rice).
Have a night over and stroll through the area to enjoy the festival atmosphere. It is definitely a scenery you should see once in your life.
Another superb night view can be found at Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi. The park’s illumination is recognized as one of Japan’s top three biggest illumination by YAKEI Convention & Visitors Bureau (YCVB) and has ranked first place in the ILLUMINATION AWARDS for four consecutive years by YCVB.
Be entranced by the glowing canopy of purple wisteria trees and various dreamlike light murals as the park transforms into a dazzling floral wonderland at night. In Christmas, the park becomes a fairy tale kingdom of flowers, while the New Year Illumination features gorgeous winter peonies, blending traditional Japanese beauty with a wondrous display of light. The event will be held from early November to February.
Yunishigawa Onsen Kamakura Festival
Access :1042 Yunishigawa, Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture
Operating hours :From 1 Feb 2020 to 1 Mar 2020 9am to 9pm (Mini Kamakura will open earlier on 31 Jan 2020)
How to get there :From Tokyo Station, walk 5 minutes to Nijubashi-Mae Station. Take the Chiyoda line for 20 minutes to Kitasenju Station. Take a 2 and a half hours ride on the Nikko Kinugawa line from Kitasenju Station to Yunishigawaonsen Station. Then, take another approximately 20 minutes by bus until the last stop, Yunishigawa Onsen bus stop.
Ashikaga Flower Park
Access :607 Hasama-cho, Ashikaga City, Tochigi Prefecture
Operating hours :Regular season 9am to 6pm, Summer / Winter 10am to 5pm Illumination period is from 2 Nov 2019 to 6 Feb 2020 Illumination will be from 4:30pm to 9pm (Park will close at 9:30pm on Sat, Sun and Public Holidays)
How to get there :From Tokyo, it is approximately 40 minutes by Tohoku Shinkansen. Get off at JR Oyama Station. Transfer to JR Ryomo Line and get off at Ashikaga Flower Park Station after 40 minutes.