A collaboration with Matsumoto City Illuminations means that the return of the Matsumoto Ice Carving Festival (after a break in 2021 due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic) will be an especially spectacular one.

The ice sculpture event is a tradition of the city, but, like many other events across Japan and the rest of the world, had to be put on hold last year because of increasing rates of infection. Set to return this January, the event will be celebrating its 35th anniversary, and as such, will be a cause for great celebration.

As a continued effort to further curb the reach of the pandemic, this year, instead of being limited to the foregrounds of the castle, the sculptures will be spread throughout Matsumoto city. In addition to creating a more socially distant event, this wider-spread distribution of sculptures will allow visitors to explore and enjoy more of the city.

For the enjoyment of the whole family, the staff behind the festival will set up a slide made of carved ice in the park of Matsumoto Castle.

The event will also include demonstrative performances from expert pros in the art, as well as the National Ice Sculpture Championship competitions. With the number of ice carvers decreasing year by year, these performances and contests are one way the ice sculpting community are keeping the art alive.

National Ice Sculpture Championship Novice Contest 2022

Date: January 21st 2022

A gateway into the world of competitive ice sculpting, this event is limited to ice sculptors with less than five years of experience. Despite this, you can expect challenging designs pieced together by the creativity of the next generation.
This year will see five teams competing in the novice event, afterwhich constructive criticism will be given by an experienced instructor/judge.

National Ice Sculpture Championship Finals 2022

Date: From the evening of January 22nd to the morning of January 23rd.

In the main championship event 14 teams made up of ice carvers from across the country will go head-to-head in an all-night competition, with the completed sculptures being on display from dawn on the 23rd of January.
A vote placed by 100 visitors on the morning of the 23rd will decide on a team to award a special prize, whilst bronze, silver and gold designs will be selected by expert judges.

Illuminating the carvings from the ice sculpture festival in all their glory will be the Matsumoto city Illuminations, which have been running since the beginning of December and are set to continue on until the 28th of February 2022.

One particular highlight of the light-up event is the Matsumoto Castle – Ice Crystal Glittering Water Mirror –, which will see dazzling lights bring the castle moat to life, and laser mapping illuminations on the keep of the castle reflected onto the water.
This unique illumination display will be visible at specific times between 6:00pm to 9:00pm from the 16th to the 22nd of January.

Whilst the city illuminations will be going on until the 28th of February 2022, the Matsumoto Ice Carving Festival will be more time-limited. Below is a list sharing the basic information regarding the Ice Carving Festival events and their dedicated dates and times.

Matsumoto Ice Carving Festival 2022
Dates: 21 Jan – 23 Jan 2022
Location: Various spread through central Matsumoto city
*Further details regarding the whole event can be found on the official webpage.

National Ice Sculpture Championship Novice Contest 2022
Contest date & time: 21 Jan 2022, 18:00 – 23:30
Light-up/Exhibition: 21 Jan 2022, 23:30 ~
Venue: Matsumoto City Flower Clock Park

National Ice Sculpture Championship Finals 2022
Contest date & time: 22 Jan – 23 Jan 2022, 17:00 – 05:00
Light-up/Exhibition: 23 Jan 2022, 05:30 ~

By - Connie Sceaphierde.