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Japan Photo Journal: Icicle light shows near Tokyo scaled back due to COVID-19 outbreak

(Mainichi/Ken Yamada)

Icicles are seen lit in various hues for an annual light show held in the east Japan town of Yokoze, Saitama Prefecture, on Jan. 16, 2021. This year's "Icicles of Ashigakubo" light show began in the evening but closed early due to the coronavirus state of emergency issued in the prefecture. The town's tourist association will light up the ice pillars on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. -- shutting down an hour earlier than in previous years. In another break from tradition, the event will not be held on Fridays. Admission is limited to customers with prepurchased tickets, and on its website, the association is urging people from outside the prefecture to refrain from visiting. Warm weather last year prematurely melted the icicles, cutting short the event and dealing a blow to the local economy. 2021's event continues until Feb. 23. Admission is 300 yen for visitors of junior high school student age and older.

    (Japanese original by Ken Yamada, Chichibu Local Bureau)

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