There are numerous fantastic festivals to enjoy during the winter months in Japan, and one of them combines ice sculptures with a National Treasure as a backdrop. The two-day Matsumoto Castle Ice Sculpture Festival has been running for over 30 years now, with a variety of skillfully designed works on display from several competing teams.
The event typically includes fun additional activities such as an ice slide for children, food stalls, and live music performances.
There is no admission fee to enjoy the ice sculptures, but do bring yen if you plan on grabbing a bite to eat.
Matsumoto Castle Park is located under 10 minutes on foot from Kita-Matsumoto Station (served by the JR Ōito Line), or around 15 minutes on foot from Matsumoto Station (served by the JR Shinonoi Line, the JR Ōito Line, and the Alpico Kōtsū Kamikōchi Line).
For those who opt to drive, there are paid parking lots in the surrounding area.
Find out more about Matsumoto Castle.