The Icicles of Misotsuchi or “Misotsuchi no Tsurara” is one of Japan’s natural wonders. Because of the extreme cold temperature during winter, water flowing down from the mountains are frozen, forming these beautiful icicles. During January and February, the icicles are lit up from 5pm until 7pm on weekdays (9pm on weekends) in what they call the Otaki Ice Festival. The light transitions into different colors from blue, to green, to red, to purple, and at one point rainbow colors. This has always been on my bucket list and witnessing it was truly surreal. This destination is not very popular so the place is not so crowded with tourists even on weekends.
Access to Misotsuchi Icicles: Located at Chichibu, Saitama, it would take around 3 hours to get there from Tokyo. From Ikebukuro Station, take the Seibu Limited Express to Seibu-Chichibu station (78 minutes). From there walk to Ohanabatake station to transfer to the Chichibu Railway bound for Kagemori. And finally, from Kagemori transfer again to Chichibu Railway bound for the final stop, Mitsumineguchi station.
Once you reach Mitsumineguchi station, ride the Seibu bus (arrives every 30 mins.) and get off at the Sanjuba (三十場 ) bus stop which takes about 30 mins from Mitsumineguchi station. At the Sanjuba bus stop, look for the sign “三十槌の氷柱” (Misotsuchi no Tsurara) and just follow the road leading you to the Icicles. The last bus going back to Mitsumineguchi station leaves at around 5pm, so the only way to get back is to book a taxi by phone beforehand. We were lucky to meet fellow Filipinos along the way who were kind enough and shared a taxi ride with us going back. The long commute was well worth it!