Outdoor / Nature

The Icicles of Chichibu, Saitama

16 February 2017

The past weekend, Fu and I made a trip to see icicles! The Japanese name for icicles is tsurara, which sounds so cute, hehe. We missed it last year, but this year we quickly went to buy snow tyres and went on a one-day road trip!

After driving for ~3.5 hours, we arrived at our first stop!

Onouchi Tsurara 尾ノ内氷柱

Onouchi Tsurara. Quite a feat to take a photo of the bridge this empty!

Onouchi’s icicles are actually man-made, and only came into being less than 10 years ago. Someone probably went “Hmm, how can we revive this town and bring more tourists here? Let’s spray some water and make icicles!” It worked, seeing as we traveled all the way there lol.

How man-made icicles are made

This is probably as hot as it will get here…

I had to tell him “Uncle, 看 camera, 不是看自己的脸…” (look at the camera, not at your own face) LOL. Plus his hair and smile and pose like come from dunno what countryside. so wholesome and pure lolol

Artsy fartsy shot (which I think is very well done hahaha)

The entrance area

Onouchi Tsurara is a very small place – the entrance area (with a couple of shops), the short walk from the entrance in, the bridge, and small wall of icicles make up the entire place. You can be done with the place in 30 minutes or less if you’re quick. Us, we took longer as usual. We stayed about 1.5 hours in total haha.

There’s also a light-up event on certain days!

Somehow the icicles here look so much more dense…

We didn’t stay for the light-up because we wanted to view the light-up event of another place. So we set off for our next destination, one hour away.

Misotsuchi no Tsurara 三十槌の氷柱

This is THE icicle place. Most famous of all the icicle places, at least as far as my knowledge goes.

There are two main icicle spots (side by side) in Misotsuchi. They are not in caves or anything, which was what Fu was expecting to see.

Left: Naturally-formed icicles
Right: Man-made icicles

We were early, so while waiting for the sun to set, we roamed around the place.

A random spot with more man-made icicles


We saw many people loitering around this area and realized it was a frozen lake!!! Naturally, we ran towards it haha.

Then I ventured inwards , found an interesting spot and told Fu to come over. As he approached, one of his last steps towards me resulted in a ear-splitting


The kind of crack that is really soft, but is able to instantly rip through your heart and cause it to stop.

My screams reverberated around the entire area lol.

Then I yelled “DON’T COME CLOSER!!! DON’T MOVE!!!” *deep breath* *deep breath*

“Ok… ok… but stick your foot in – DON’T EXERT ANY FORCE!!! – for a photo”

Scared like hell (that’s why photo is blur hahaha) but still want to take photo lol. Wished it was clear enough to show the (extremely long and scary) hairline crack though!

Back at the main icicle spot:

When you don’t have a tripod but have trust issues with strangers taking photos for you lol. Wanted to use photoshop to join it into a heart but got too lazy haha

This keeps me alive during winter

Warming up!

Finally, the skies turned completely dark around 5.45pm and we headed back down for the illumination! (that’s what they call it in Japan)

We so clever. Made use of the spotlights to illuminate our faces hahah

With the man-made icicles

The changing of colors takes damn long and we waited forever to take the red one (cause Fu says it’s very “mysterious”). So much effort so I have to post it:

Then, at another spot, the changing of lights was so quick – it’s really like disco lights kinda quick – that it also took forever and 2619 shots to capture this shade that Fu likes most lol.

Not quite blue, not quite green

It was a very cold day out and our noses were involuntarily making their own icicles, but it was a lot of fun to go on a road trip together after a long hiatus!

Omake おまけ (extras)

“Icicle” rusks! Hehe

The local delicacy of Chichibu city is miso potato – steamed potato with sweet miso topping – and here we have Potekuma, a bear who loves and eats miso potato so much that miso is spewing out of its head o_O


Onouchi Tsurara 尾ノ内氷柱
❅ 200 yen entrance fee

Misotsuchi no Tsurara 三十槌の氷柱
❅ Free entrance
❅ 500 yen for parking

Note: There are also bus tours to Misotsuchi. Can’t comment on what’s good because we drove there.

Best time to visit:
Mid Jan to late Feb. Check latest news for illumination dates.


  • Reply Angie 17 February 2017 at 4:29 pm

    Gosh, loving this! Am so gonna visit when we are over in Japan!
    So where will you be off to this weekend?! : P

    • Reply Rin 17 February 2017 at 5:03 pm

      Haha go go go! Travel all around Japan! :D
      This weekend we are possibly driving to a ski resort. Gotta make full use of the snow tyres before the end of winter! Lol

  • Reply Chris 17 October 2017 at 11:34 am

    Hi Rin, i am heading to Chichibu in next Feb 2018.

    Where can i find information on the illumination?

    My family and i are not driving so we have to travel everything by foot and train.

    Are all the spots you mentioned in this article found in one place which is in the Icicles of Ashigakubo that is near to the Ashigakubo station?


    • Reply Rin 17 October 2017 at 8:54 pm

      Hi Chris, Ashigakubo is a different place from the two I visited above, although all are in Saitama.

      For information on the illumination, please check the individual event pages, which are already linked above previously. You may have to check back closer to the event (probably late 2017/ early 2018) for updates.

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