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Cool ice objects light up 'subzero forest' in central Japan

Icicles and ice walls are vividly lit up at Hyotenka no Mori in the city of Takayama, Gifu Prefecture, on Feb. 4, 2022. (Mainichi/Tadayuki Otake)=Click/tap photo for more images.

TAKAYAMA, Gifu -- Ice objects are being magically lit for an illumination event at "Hyotenka no Mori," meaning "subzero forest," in this central Japan city.

    The objects are made by spraying water, drawn from a mountain torrent about 1 kilometer upstream, on trees in the roughly 4-hectare forest in front of the Akigami Onsen Ryokan inn located at an altitude of about 1,000 meters.

    Due to the spread of the coronavirus, this year's ice festival, usually held on the second Saturday of February, was canceled just like last year. A coffee shop overlooking the forest will also shorten its business hours and operate only until 8 p.m.

    Shigeru Kobayashi, who began making ice objects in 1971 and was called the "king of ice," passed away in 2017. His son Norihiro, who took over, started production of this year's objects from mid-December last year.

    Norihiro said, "I promised my father that I would protect it (Hyotenka no Mori). I didn't think about canceling it (the event due to COVID-19). I want people tired from the coronavirus pandemic to feel refreshed with this fantastic view."

    (Japanese original by Tadayuki Otake, Takayama Local Bureau)

    In Photos: Creations by son of late 'ice king' lit up for central Japan illumination event

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