Yokote Kamakura Snow Festival
The Yokote Kamakura Snow Festival is a traditional event with a history of 450 years held in winter in Akita - the snowy land of Japan, featuring distinctive snow huts.
Date: February 15-16
Location: Yokote City, Akita Prefecture
After the 15th day of the lunar calendar's first month, Japanese people prepare for the Shinto water deity ceremony in handcrafted snow huts. There are over 80 Kamakura snow huts, including many smaller-sized Kamakura.
Inside each snow hut is an altar honoring water deities with prayers for a new year filled with abundant clean water. The golden-orange light inside these snow huts creates a vibrant scene, dispelling the winter chill. Each snow hut is illuminated with orange lights scattered across the snow-covered fields.
Before entering the Kamakura, people offer ritual items on the altar to the water deity. At the festival, visitors will encounter warmly welcoming children inviting them to enjoy amazake (sweet rice wine) and yakimochi (grilled rice cakes). After the ritual offerings, you can warm up by the hibachi charcoal stove and enjoy the festive winter atmosphere with friends and family.
Towards the end of January, locals begin preparations for the festival by constructing Kamakura snow huts. This process attracts many participants who engage in the festive atmosphere.