The Subzero Forest (Hyotenka no Mori in Japanese) is a mesmerizing event that transports visitors to a world of ice and lights. According to the official website, the event is put on by Akigami Onsen Inn and has been going on for over 30 years. The owners of Akigami Onsen Inn normally begin planning the event in September and start creating the ice in mid-November. The inn’s four-hectare property (40,000 m²) is setup with about 6,000m of hoses in order to create the ice.
The result of this hard work and labor is an ice wonderland that reflects blue during the day and shines bright at night with a variety of colored illuminations.
The common questions we’ve been asked by travelers is 1.) how to book a room at Akigami Onsen Inn and 2.) how to get there if you don’t have a car (please don’t drive on your own unless you are used to driving on ice mountain roads).
1.) Booking a room at Akigami Onsen Inn
While the website for the inn is in Japanese, it is possible to book a room yourself by using Rakuten Travel, here is the page for the inn:
Akigami Onsen Inn Rakuten Travel Link
2.) Getting to Akigami Onsen Inn by Bus
If you don’t have a car, use the bus line going to Akigami from Takayama City; it will take about an hour and cost 1,390 yen per person each way. If you are going on a weekday then take an Asahi Line (Asahi sen in Japanese) bus from the Takayama Nohi Bus Center going towards “Akigami Onsen” departing at *7:00, 13:10, 15:10, 17:10, or 18:35 (No 13:10 and 18:35 services on weekends and national holidays). The last stop will be at the Akigami Inn (“Akigami Onsen” in Japanese) so going there is pretty straightforward.
Return buses to Takayama depart Akigami Onsen at *6:16, 9:00, 14:20, 16:20, and 18:20 (No 14:20 and 18:20 services on weekends and national holidays).
Here is the Nohi Bus timetable for your reference:
Subzero Forest Ice Festival
【Date】 Second Saturday of February (held annually)
【Time】 16:00 ～ 21:00
【Location】 Subzero Forest Grounds
【Events】 Regional traditional art performances, concerts, bazaar, fireworks show
*Please note that these bus times are current as of Jan. 2019, but may be changed after March. Make sure and double check the times before your trip