Nine snow festivals in Japan

Neuf festivals de la neige au Japon

Nine snow festivals in Japan

Let it snow!

There's something magical about Japan in winter... Especially when it snows, under illuminations, and even fireworks, the first snowflakes are often synonymous with festivities around the country. A tradition that can be found in particular throughout the northern part of the country, as shown by these nine snow festivals.

Le festival de la neige de Sapporo

Sapporo Snow Festival

2. Kamihinokinai (Akita) Paper Balloon Festival


Located in the small town of Semboku in Akita prefecture, the Kamihinokinai winter festival is based on an ancestral art, that of Ukiyo-e prints.

Every February 10, a hundred huge paper lanterns are then released into the air to the delight of the participants. Lanterns were previously decorated with prints of samurai and geisha, which fly away against the backdrop of a snowy landscape.

Le festival des ballons en papier

The paper balloon festival

3. Hirosaki Castle Snow Lantern Festival (Aomori)


A figurehead of the region, Hirosaki Castle has fascinated the curious who have ventured to Aomori for centuries. Especially when the days get shorter, since the latter hosts around a hundred kamakura each year, small traditional snow lanterns.

With its illuminations, its exhibitions of works of art, and its toboggan runs, the Hirosaki snow lantern festival has everything to seduce young and old.

Le festival des lanternes de Hirosaki

The Hirosaki Lantern Festival


5. Ouchijuku Snow Festival (Fukushima)


Organized every year on the second weekend of February in the small traditional village of Ouchijuku, this snow festival will delight lovers of the picturesque.

With its lanterns that illuminate the streets of the Edo period (1603-1868), the small traditional businesses that make up the latter, and the performances of Yokasoi that punctuate the festivities, the Ouchijuku snow festival is probably one of the matsuris of the most exotic winters in Japan.

Le festival de la neige de Ouchijuku

Ouchijuku Snow Festival

Le festival de la neige de Uranbandai

Uranbandai Snow Festival

7. Yunishigawa Onsen Kamakura Festival (Toshigi)


Located in Nikko, 2h30 from Tokyo, Yunishigawa Onsen is an onsen village over 400 years old.

Although the establishment is full all year round, it is particularly popular from January to March when it hosts the kamakura festival, 1,000 small snow igloos inside which a candle is lit when the sun goes down.

For the occasion, visitors are invited to walk between the rows of igloos that are strewn outside and to go up along the river which borders the village. All this before diving into the hot springs, onsen.

Le festival des Kamakura de Yunishigawa Onsen

Yunishigawa Onsen's Kamakura Festival

8. Zao Snow Monster Illuminations (Yamagata)


Far from referring to the spirits that could populate the Japanese mountains, the "Snow Monsters of Zao" actually refer to the snow-capped trees of Mount Zao, located in Yamagata Prefecture. The latter then take on funny shapes when the snow covers them, and delight the skiers of the Zao Onsen Ski Resort who had the idea of lighting up their ski slopes to see them better.

Les monstres de neige de Zao

Zao's Snow Monsters

Le festival de la neige de Tokamachi

The Tokamachi Snow Festival

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