Yunishigawa Kamakura Festival
This feature festival of Yunishigawa Onsen is held from late January to early March every year. A variety of snowmen handmade by local residents of all ages welcome visitors with a warm greeting. During the day you can enjoy sleighing or a barbeque in the snow huts (by appointment only), in the evening rows of small huts along the river are candlelit. This illuminated snow-filled town is simply mesmerizing.
Ashikaga Flower Park
This flower garden creates a full sense of the season and the magnificence of nature with a wide range of plants and trees. The highlight of the park is the massive Japanese wisteria trellises in bloom from late April to mid-May. You will be totally stunned by four large wisteria vines and the 80-meter tunnel of white wisterias, designated as a prefectural natural treasure. In the evening the illuminated wisterias bring dream-like scenes. The park also draws large crowds during the fall and winter months, when the “Bejeweled Flower Garden”, the one of the Kanto area’s top three annual illumination events, is held. The garden welcomes over a million tourists throughout the year.
Kegon Waterfall is the most famous of Nikko’s 48 waterfalls. Water from Lake Chuzenji falls 97 meters straight down to the rocks below creating a dynamic and artistic work of nature. A special lift takes visitors to the basin where the force and roar of the water can be witnessed close up! Impressive in any season, the waterfall looks particularly spectacular when surrounded by the fresh green leaves in May, house martins in June, or the “12 falls” - small streams of the frozen waterfall clad in blue ice - during January and February.
Tochigi is Japan’s largest producer of strawberries. The prefecture has the perfect environment for fresh and sweet strawberries, blessed with abundant sunshine, clear spring water, fertile land and an inland climate with a large difference between high and low temperatures. Strawberry picking is popular leisure in strawberry farms across the prefecture. Starting with “Tochiotome”, the nation’s superstar brand of strawberry, come and sample some of the many varieties available, some of which are only grown in the prefecture. “Skyberry”, the brand-new premium variety created as a successor of “Tochiotome”, is increasingly popular. The perfect flavours and amazingly large-fruit are utterly delicious!
Oya History Museum
The old mining site of Utsunomiya’s specialty, Oya Stone, has now been turned into a historical museum. The exhibition features the long history of the mining since the 17th century, with many documents on display. The underground cavern, covering 20,000 sq. metres, is large enough to fit a baseball field. With a fantastic atmosphere reminding visitors of the ruins of Ancient Rome, the cavern is widely utilized as a location for shooting movies and music videos, as a venue such as a concert hall, theatre, Noh theatre, business functions and wedding receptions.
Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura
Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura is a Japanese historical theme park that used to pleasure the Japanese community during the Edo period in the sixteen hundred. When you visit this hospitable place, you will get a chance to experience what it feels like to be a fearless Samurai swordsmen, a legendary Edo police officer or a fierce ninja. The compound is so massive, covering an area of 495,000-metre-square and it offers what we can refer to as fun beyond fun.
Nikkozan Rinnoji Temple
This group of Buddhist temples of Sannai includes the biggest wooden structure in the Nikkozan area. The 38 constructions on the premises including the Sanbutsudo Hall with three giant Buddha statues, are designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. “Gohan-shiki”, the rice-eating ceremony held at Rinnoji every year on the 2nd of April, is said to bring participants health and fortune. Do not miss the treasure house and the Japanese garden “Shoyoen” nearby. The “Shoyoen” is especially photogenic during the autumn leaves season.
Lake Chuzenji is the largest lake in Tochigi, framed by 25 kilometers of incredible nature. The area used to be a popular summer resort for foreigners in the late 19th to early 20th centuries. The villas of French and Belgian embassies can still be found here. You can enjoy seasonal charms by the lake. Walking trails surround the water’s edge and there is an excursion boat available on the lake. The views from the lake are spectacular, particularly when the cherry blossoms or azaleas are blooming or when the autumn leaves are turning. The “Koyo-meguri” tour, enjoying autumn leaves reflecting on the lake, is highly recommended.
Nikko Futarasan-jinja Shrine - Shinkyo Sacred Bridge
This old shrine is a centre of worship located in the Nikko Mountains. Many visitors come to pray for good luck and success in love. The beautiful “Shinkyo”, a vermilion-lacquered wooden bridge belonging to the shrine, welcomes visitors to this world heritage site. The bridge is a popular photo spot and according to legend was constructed from snakes by local deities.
Shibazakura Matsuri, or if you like Fuji Shibazukira or just Moss Phlox Festival is a time ticking event. Evey year around April or May, visitors to this beautiful part of Japan get to enjoy the magnificent view of the floral carpet with different shades of pink, white, red and mauve which blend perfectly when the lawn cherry blossoms. If you happen not to visit the Ichikai-machi Shibazakura Park, then you are missing out on something so stunning.