PHOTO/ Saitama natural icicle displays a big draw

January 24, 2012

With chilly winter weather now in full swing across the nation, icicles have grown to extremely large sizes in Saitama Prefecture’s Chichibu and neighboring areas, becoming major sightseeing draws.

The Misotsuchi-no-tsurara icicles in the Otaki area of Chichibu are created from frozen fresh water that has trickled among rocks on the mountain surface near the Arakawa river.

This winter, the water formed into icicles in late December, about two weeks earlier than usual. The natural ice sculptures have grown to about 8 meters in height and about 30 meters wide. A lighting display for the icicles can be viewed from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., with the hours extended to 9 p.m. on weekends. It will run until Feb. 12.

The nearby Nakatsugawadeai-no-hyoheki ice wall, which measures 80 meters tall and 100 meters wide, features a number of spectacular hanging icicles. The Onouchihyakkei hyochu icicle area, another similar site in the Kawarasawa region of Ogano in Saitama Prefecture, features 40-meter-by-80-meter icicles extending across the Onouchi valley. Visitors can take in the mystical view of the ice wall from a suspension bridge spanning the valley.

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Visitors take pictures of the Misotsuchi-no-tsurara icicles in the Otaki area of Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, on Jan. 17. (Toru Yoshii)

Visitors take pictures of the Misotsuchi-no-tsurara icicles in the Otaki area of Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, on Jan. 17. (Toru Yoshii)

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  • Visitors take pictures of the Misotsuchi-no-tsurara icicles in the Otaki area of Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, on Jan. 17. (Toru Yoshii)
  • The Onouchihyakkei hyochu icicle site in the Kawarasawa area of Saitama Prefecture’s Ogano. (Toru Yoshii)

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