Kinugawa Onsen (鬼怒川温泉) is a famous hot spring resort located at the upstream of Kinugawa River in Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture. Being located near Tokyo, it is known as one of the “inner rooms of Tokyo (東京の奥座敷)” along with its counterparts, Hakone and Atami. However, other than having a relaxing bath in the warm onsen, how about satisfying your senses at an event that features the harmony of nature and people under the moonlight?
Tsukiakari Hana Kairou, which literally translates to “Moonlight Flower Gallery,” enters its 8th year in 2017 and will be held from September 30 to October 9 at Kinugawa Onsen’s Kinugawa Koen (鬼怒川公園) i.e. Kinugawa Park. This autumn night event is based on the theme of how nature and people meet in a gentle manner under the moonlight. The event aims to let visitors and locals of Kinugawa and the nearby Kawaji Onsen (川治温泉) resort interact with nature which will result to the “blooming of flowers” in their hearts.
From 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM every night (ending time will be extended to 10:00 PM on the weekends i.e. September 30, October 1, 7, and 8), you will be able to see the artworks on display. Note, however, that the event might be canceled in case of extreme weather.
Besides using your sense of sight to enjoy the beautifully illuminated artworks, remember to head to the main stage for the moonlight concerts taking place every night from 6:45 PM. These concerts are performed using a mix of traditional Japanese musical instruments like the koto (琴) i.e. Japanese zither and the shinobue (篠笛) i.e. Japanese bamboo flute, as well as other Western instruments like the clarinet, cello, ocarina, and viola. There will be three sessions per night lasting 30 minutes each so you may want to remember the start times, which are 6:45 PM, 7:45 PM, and 8:45 PM, as you make your way around the garden.
For those who need a bite or drink during their visit, rest assured that you may get your fill of local delights and snacks at the stalls set up at the venue. Please take note, though, that there will be more stalls set up on weekends so the selection on weekdays would be less varied. In addition, there will be some free matcha given out on the weekends near the outdoor stage but this is on a first-come-first-served basis.
As you make your way around the park, keep a lookout for Tsukihime (月姫様) i.e. Moon Princess as well so that you can take a photo with her as she meets the visitors on weekend nights.
Since you are in the area, why not head to the onsen resorts for a relaxing dip? The one-coin promotion allows you to enjoy a bath at any of the participating onsen hotels or ryokans for just 500 yen. All you have to do is show the event’s gourmet and walking map distributed to the event’s visitors. However, the bath times will differ across different hotels and ryokans so it would be best to check with them accordingly.
For those who are staying overnight at Kinugawa Onsen, you will be pleased to know that there is a free shuttle bus to Kinugawa Park which picks up visitors from a number of onsen hotels and ryokans during the course of this event. As such, there is no need to worry about transportation arrangements if you decide to attend this event.
Alternatively, day visitors to the onsen who want to be part of the action or those who happen to be staying at a place where the bus service doesn’t make a stop at can board the same shuttle bus at Kinugawa-Onsen Station (鬼怒川温泉駅) instead.
Check the official event website linked below for more information and make your reservations in advance, especially if you plan to spend a night at the onsen resorts.
Having read so much about this event, how about swinging by Kinugawa Park to join in the fun and satisfy your senses under the mystical moonlight this autumn?
Tsukiakari Hana Kairou Website *Japanese only