Kiso’s Ice Candle Festival Lights up the Nakasendo from Late January to February

January 18th, 2018

The Ice Lantern festival accompanied by fireworks as seen from the post town of Narai.

Every year from late January through early February, the Kiso Valley hosts their ice lantern festival along the ancient Nakasendo trail. Beautifully-preserved Edo period buildings glow with warm candlelight and locals set up stalls with festival foods and free hot sake and soup. Interact with local kiso people, try some of its delicious sake, and enjoy the romantic atmosphere of these post towns forgotten by time.

For those unfamiliar with the Kiso Valley, highlights include the Narai, Kisofukushima, and Tsumago post towns, as well as Magome to the south. Many visitors walk the hiking trail which follows the Nakasendo between Tsumago and Magome post towns, or walk along the kilometer-long street of Narai. Kisofukushima is home to two of Kiso’s sake breweries, Nanawarai and Nakanorisan, and has several hot spring hotels and a foot bath to warm up during the cold winter months.

See the schedule below.

Saturday, January 27th, 2018

  • Okuwa Village (around Okuwa Station) from 17:30
  • Kiso Village (around Yabuhara) from 18:00
  • Kiso Town: Hiyoshi (Yoshinaka Museum and Harano Station area) from 16:00

Sunday, January 28th, 2018

  • Shiojiri City: Niekawa (Niekawa post town) from 18:00

Saturday, February 3rd, 2018

  • Shiojiri City: Narai (Narai post town) from 18:30
  • Kiso Town: Fukushima (Kiso Fukushima Yasawa, Uemachi and Uenodan areas) from 18:00
  • Kiso Town: Kaida Kogen (Nishino Shimokurio farm area) from 10:00-15:00, 17:00 and onward
  • Otaki Village (Outaki Sightseeing Office area) from 18:00

Saturday, February 10th, 2018

  • Kiso Town: Kurokawa (Furusato Taikenkan Kisofukushima area) from 18:00
  • Nagiso Town (Tsumago area) from 17:30
  • Nakatsugawa City: Magome (Magome post town & Toson Memorial Museum area) from 18:00