Nikko in the winter is a quiet world of pure white. The light of candles at dusk seduces travelers into a magical snow scape. Approved by a committee on night scenery, there is a Nikko that twinkles only in winter. There is heartwarming light in Nikko that makes you forget how cold it is.
The magical event “Yunishigawa Onsen Kamakura Festival” held in the Taira clans secret home
Locked in by snow Yunishigawa Onsen is where fugitives of the Taira clan took refuge. The closer you get to Yunishigawa Onsen the deeper the snow seems to get. Making use of the deep snow to attract travelers is the Yunishigawa Onsen Kamakura Festival.
It has been going on for 20 years now and is recognized as a historical nightscape. The countless lights lighting up the straw thatched roofs in the miniature Kamakura at night is gorgeous enough to take your breath away. The miniature is made by volunteers carving out snow one house at a time by hand. Each sundown the candles are carefully lit. As the night grows darker the light seems to get brighter and the scene is ghostly yet kind.
Yunishigawa Onsen Kamakura Festival From 1-25-2014 to 3-9-2014 0288-97-1126 (tourist board for Nikko, Yunishigawa, Kawado, and Okukido)
“Oku Nikko Yumoto Onsen Snow Fest” an event of snow and light
Oku Nikko Yumoto Onsen is a small town of hot springs with a very long history. The springs here are known to have high concentrations of metasilicic acid said to be good for skin. This light show event uses the snow to light up the town surrounded by forest and mountains. This event is approved as a light up nightscape heritage event.
The festival is made up of the thousand or so lights made in the walls of snow “Yukiakari” (snow lights), winter fireworks, and ice sculptures made by famous hotel chefs.
In the past candles were used like at Yunishigawa Onsen, but since 2011 these have been turned into LED lights to give off colors such as blue, purple or red. This show was designed by the light show critic Motoo Marumaru.
During the festival travelers staying at Yumoto Onsen get a special treat. You get to go to 3 different hot spring baths of your choosing for free as long as they are participating in the event. For hot spring lovers this is a can’t miss opportunity. We recommend going on the hot spring tour in the day and relaxing with the light show at night.
Oku Nikko Yumoto Onsen Snow Festival Open 12-1-2013 to 3-31-2014 Winter fireworks will be on 2-1-2014, will reschedule to 2-2-2014 if bad weather
The Jizo warmly lit at the “Nikko Candle Pageant”
The Nikko Candle Pageant is staged several thousand candles lit alongside the Kanmangabuchi hillside, which runs along the Otanigawa River. The River is fed by the Kagen Falls from Chuzenji Lake. Gaining in popularity amongst amateur photographers, for being able to take amazingly mythical pictures ate night.
The 70 or so Jizo that line the riverside lit by countless candles make you think you stepped into another dimension. These Jizo are called “Bake Jizo” (Ghost Jizo) because when you count them going one way the count is different coming back. Although that might sound frightening the peaceful gaze of each Jizo strangely calms you. These Jizo are loved by the locals.
There is a free shuttle bus from Nikko station to the area during the event which is held between 2-7-2014 and 2-11-2014. Also during the event at 6pm there is a ten minute fireworks display. Winter fireworks are even more romantic as the air is clearer than other seasons. The reflection of light from the fireworks on the snow is something to behold.
Nikko Candle Pageant 2014 2-7-2014 to 2-11-2014 0288-54-3126 (Nikko Onsen Association)
Sparkling Nikko is a must see
Nikko in the winter with its light shows and white snow is something uniquely alluring. It’s not over the top but the simplicity has a profound quality to it that appeals a lot to the Japanese sense of beauty. Although night is cold in winter Nikko the light seems to warm visitors up from the heart.
Nikko is great because there are so many ways to enjoy it. In the day time you can visit the many temples and shrines to recharge your power, or just play in the snow or take hot spring baths in the snow. The above events are detailed in Japanese in the links below in the memo section.
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.