Winter – Have Fun in the Snow

Hirosaki Snow Lantern Festival – Aomori Prefecture

Hirosaki Snow Lantern Festival – Aomori Prefecture

Dates and times Thursday, February 9 to Sunday, February 12, 2017
Night illumination: Sundown to 21:00
Location Hirosaki Park in Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture
Fees Free of charge
Links

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Hirosaki Tourism and Convention Bureau

Things to see in the area

Things to see

Famous for its cherry blossoms in spring, Hirosaki Castle is also exceptional in winter, when it is blanketed in a quiet, mysterious beauty.

To break up the long, harsh winter of the north with pleasing visual art, local residents and groups create some 500 lanterns and snow carvings, large and small, throughout the park.

From the castle keep, you can see mini kamakura, igloo-like snow structures mounted with some 300 candles, lining the perimeter of Hasu Pond. The entire area is bathed in fantastic snowy light, and in the main venue, a variety of snow events can be found, including a huge snow carving modeled after a historical structure, and a giant slide made of snow.

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Lake Towada Winter Story – Aomori Prefecture

Lake Towada Winter Story – Aomori Prefecture

Dates and times Friday, February 3 to Sunday, February 26, 2017
Location Towada, Aomori Prefecture
The Lake Towada Winter Story Special Venue
Fees Free of charge
Links

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Things to see in the area

Things to see

This is the largest snow festival in the Northern Tohoku area.

The festival unrolls as a mystical winter story, filled with stage events such as a live performance by Tsugaru shamisen players and a show with namahage, traditional demons said to appear to scare disobedient children into behaving. Other events include winter fireworks and the illumination of the Statue of Maidens.

While in Aomori and Akita, enjoy the wonderful local cuisine. One stop for nightlife is the Kamakura Bar, located inside an igloo-like kamakura and serving cocktails in glasses made of ice. Check out the gymnasium for lots of fun snow events and workshops, and then go down the giant snow slide. Discover the incredible assortment of foot baths and other facilities including Towada Lakeside Hot Springs, which features baths especially for soaking your feet.

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Yokote Kamakura Snow Festival – Akita Prefecture

Yokote Kamakura Snow Festival – Akita Prefecture

Dates and times Wednesday, February 15 to Thursday, February 16, 2017
Location Yokote, Akita Prefecture
Doro Koen Park (next to city hall), Buke Yashiki Dori in Haguro-cho, Kamakura Dori in Futaba-cho, Yokote Park
Fees Free of charge
Links

Akita Comprehensive Tourism Guide

Yokote Tourist Association (in Japanese only)

Things to see in the area

Things to see

The kamakura is an igloo-like structure hollowed out after packing snow. Generally known in Japan as essentially a small house, the kamakura is in fact traditionally used in Akita Prefecture as a shrine for the God of Water during the lunar New Year, which generally falls between January 15 and 20.

In the Yokote Kamakura Snow Festival, children inside the kamakura invite passers-by inside, sometimes to pray to the God of Water, and serve rich, warm amazake, a sweet low-alcohol drink, as well as mochi rice cakes. Kamakura are round, and generally about 3.5 meters across and 3 meters tall. During the festival period, more than 100 kamakura adorn the town, along with countless miniature kamakura.

As of November 2016.

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