Something to cool you down this summer, a trip to one of the coldest festival in Japan’s north, Hokkaido. This is the Noboribetsu Onsen (Hot Spring) Festival and you’ve never seen anything like this before! Men in thongs throwing water at -10C / 14F temperatures at night. It’s a surreal scene and one I got to participate in. History: The event has been taking place since the 1970s as a way to give thanks to the nature around them for the hot springs that provide the local area with jobs. The men battle like Oni in a Cavalry War, one guy riding 2 or 3 others to get the flag or headband. Of course the use of Hot Water which keeps us warm makes the event fun and also a reminder that it also keeps us warm. Fundoshi are traditional Japanese thongs worn in festivals and cultural rituals for many centuries.

Where is Noboribetsu?
▷ MAP:
★ The Noboribetsu Onsen Matsuri 登別温泉祭りfestival takes place every year on February 3rd and 4th.

If you’d like to participate, space is limited and you should send an email or message to the Noboribetsu Tourism office to see if there is space for you. You cannot typically arrive on the day of the event and participate. ℹ️ Access: Noboribetsu is about 1.5 to 2 hours by train and car from Sapporo, 1 to 1.5 hours from New Chitose Airport. There are hourly buses from the Station to the Onsen Town for about 200 yen. Taxi are also available and it’s about 15 minutes from Noboribetsu Station to the Onsen / Spa town, 20 minutes to Jigokudani.

Noboribetsu Onsen Festival
Noboribetsu Onsen Festival water splashed at -14C
Japanese Festival
Time to start the coldest festival in Hokkaido, Japan