You Can Find These Magical Winter Illuminations in Takayama City

There's something for everyone-including those who wish for good luck in their relationships.

For anyone headed to Japan for some winter sightseeing, there’s always something magical about seeing an out-of-this-world view created by nature. Pair the intense coldness of the season with a quaint town and you’ve got the makings of a memorable winter experience. In this article, we will show you some sightseeing spots in Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture. See the magical world of colorful lights whether you’re in town for a holiday or simply in need of a weekend escape.

For anyone wishing for good luck in their relationships

Taruma Kanekori Illumination

Ice displays made by spraying water on the trees in the park regularly. Illumination at the dam tunnel nearby is held simultaneously.

Taruma Kanekori Illumination
is a light up event at the Taruma Waterfall, a spiritual spot known for granting relationship fortune. The illumination in Shinsui Park, Shin-hirayu Onsen is held every day. The Ema Market (votive picture market) is also open on select dates. Paper ema (¥2,000) and prayer cards for good fortune in relationships (¥300) are sold in the market. Write your wish at the back of the prayer card and hang it on the Mozumo no Yashiro within the area. You should not miss the Ice Curtain made vibrant rainbow colors! A heart shaped photo spot is also on-site—perfect for your Instagram posts.

Taruma Kanekori Illumination is located in Taruma Waterfall Shinsui Park, Okuhida Onsengo Hitoegane, Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture and is held until February 29. It is open from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily but may be cancelled during stormy weather. You may contact the Okuhida Onsengo Tourism Association at +81-578-89-2614.

For those who love seeing ice transform into a myriad of colors

Subzero Forest

As the sun sets, reds, blues, and greens light up the area, bringing forth a mystical feeling. It looks phenomenal during the day, too, with the stunning contrast between the white ice and the blue sky.

Subzero Forest has been the winter tradition of Akigami Onsen Ryokan since 1971. The owner of the inn begins planning the event in September and composes a forest made of ice on the four-hectare property. Fans are fascinated with the unbelievable scale of the display that many come back every year. The ice gets bigger each day so you have something to look forward to no matter how many times you visit during the season. Depending on the area, the shape of the ice changes, so the more you look around, the more breathtaking views you encounter. On February 8, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., a torchlight procession and a live concert will take place in the Subzero Forest Ice Festival.


Subzero Forest is located at Akigami Onsen
Ryokan, 355 Asahicho Kurumijima, Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture and is held until February 29. It is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily while light up starts from sunset to 9 p.m. You may contact the Hida Asahi Sightseeing Information Center at +81-577-55-3777.

For the ones who love the cold and would love to see an ice curtain

Aodaru Illumination

Columns of blue ice, known as aodaru, are recreated
at the Fukuji Onsen by spraying the water streaming from the waterfall towards the trees.

refers to the columns of blue ice that form when water seeps from the rock face and freezes. They naturally form deep in the mountains, so they are recreated beautifully at the Fukuji Onsen. Normally, the view is seen from along the road but from February 4 to 14, a special pathway will be opened so you can see the aodaru up close. During the event, amazake is given away for free. From February 8 to 10, every 8:30 p.m., you can watch a local lion dance performance.

Aodaru Illumination is located at Fukuji Onsen, Okuhida Onsengo Fukuji, Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture and is held until late March. It is open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily but promenade may be closed during bad weather. You may contact the Okuhida Onsengo Tourism Association at +81-578-89-2614.

For those who love a magnificent view but can’t travel too far from the city

Hida Folk Village

Vibrant, colorful lights illuminate the snow that piled up on straw-thatched roofs and on top of the trees. The village stands out from its dark surroundings.

Hida Folk Village
is an open-air museum exhibiting traditional houses in the Hida region. Gassho-style farmhouses (“gassho” in Japanese means hands joined in prayer, which is resembled by the steep thatched roofs on these houses) relocated from Shirakawago, old buildings, and articles of daily life are displayed so you can get a glimpse of the typical lifestyle of the people in the past. When there is snow during the day, they open the fields for snow play. Since it is a tourist spot, there are fewer restrictions so you can fully enjoy your experience. Moreover, it is nice to be able to see the exhibits up close. The frozen lake in front of the village is also recommended as the view is impressive especially when the light reflects off it.


Hida Folk Village is located at 1-590 Kamioka Motomachi, Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture and illumination is held until February 29. It is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, while light up starts from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Entrance fee costs
¥700 for SHS students and above, and  ¥200 for elementary students and above. Illumination costs ¥300 for SHS students and above, and ¥100 for elementary students and above. You may contact them at +81-577-34-4711.

For those who simply want to witness a heartwarming illumination

Winter’s Hida Takayama Light Up

The quiet invites emotions different from the liveliness of daytime. During winter, the vermillion Nakabashi Bridge stands out from the white snow.

Crossing the Miyakawa River, Nakabashi Bridge is considered the symbol of Hida Takayama, which is also a famous attraction during the Takayama Festival in spring for its food stalls. In the winter, the Takayama city area is illuminated with the bridge as the central attraction. The cherry blossom and willow trees along the Miyakawa River bathed in gentle lights depicts a romantic scene. It is most recommended to see the illuminated view after snowfall. The glittering scenery of lights reflecting off the snow on top of the trees makes it seem like nature’s illumination show.

Winter’s Hida Takayama Light Up is located at Nakabashi Bridge area, Honmachi, Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture and is held until February 29. Light up starts from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily. You may contact the Hida-Takayama Tourism and Convention Bureau at +81-577-36-1011.

Provided by Japan Walker™, Walkerplus™, and Tokai Walker™ (6 January 2020)

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