I visted Yokote, Akita-Ken, for the recent Kamakura Snow Festival. The Kamakura tradition dates back over 400 years when small snow houses were made for the Gods and filled with food and Sake. The tradition carries on today with people from all over Japan and other countries coming to see the kamakura made by local villagers and children.
A small kamakura made on the side of the road. The history of the kamakura goes back over 400 years. Originally the snow houses (kamakura) were made as resting places for the Gods.
A few more mini snow huts set up on the side of the road. Lighting these all up at night with candles made a nice site, and at least the snow would help avoid any accidents with fire.
As well as kamakura there were also other lights along the street creating a warm atmosphere.
One of the side streets on the way to the main Kamakura event site. You can see that the snow has not been so heavy this year and the roads are not too hard to drive.
A nice warm glow coming from inside this local restaurant.
You can still see the bucket shape of this small snow hut.
Around the City there were many places to see mini light displays as well.
A decorated elephant lit up as part of the occasion.
A small tree in the middle of the art exhibition.
another good looking place for a meal and a drink. Yakitori in the foreground, tonkatsu behind.
Cooking up some food inside the kamakura.
A menacing statute built in snow at the main kamakura event site. The fire in the front was a welcome site as my fingers had started to freeze over.
Tonari no Totoro looked quite realistic here. The Ghibli creation fitted in well with the snow.
Japanese and Foreigners alike, all keen to get a photo of the inside of the kamakura.
Some of the kids took turns sliding down the large Mameshiba snow statute.
Lots of shapes and combinations for stacking the snow.
A whole walled fort has been created here with the individual huts. It made for a nice effect with all the candles lit.
Inside the kamakura, children served up hot food and amazake.
Looking back inside the wall of candles.
The streets were not too crowded which made it easy to get around. With the weather being quite mild as well, walking through the snow was not a problem.
Lots of effort had gone in to making all of these small kamakura along the roadway.
A popular spot here for people to stop and get some amazake or noodles.
Outside a house on the main street.
Enough people out to make in friendly, not so many that it was uncomfortable. Without the Festival, on a really cold snowy night, I imagine there would hardly be anyone out on the streets.
Traditional snow boots and a mini bonden alongside a small kamakura for this house.
Plenty of choice for kids to buy a mask here.
The colors really shone through from these stalls. With it being cold out and the food looking great, everyone was tucking in.
The main crowds seemed to have gathered around the outdoor food stalls. Hot dogs, yakisoba, Okonomiyaki, Monja and many other types of food were available.
The Okonomiyaki chefs cook up a large hot plate full of food.
French Dogs on offer here.
Ika, squid, being cooked up. Always nice to down this with a dose of Japanese Sake as well.
This is how you make Okonomiyaki. I am not sure how many servings I can count here, but they were disappearing fast as customers lined up.
A couple of chocolate dogs to the left here with other stalls in the background.
A mini kamakura and shrine. Looks like it wont be long before the shrine melts.
JR Yokote Station, Akita-ken
Have you visited Japan in the Winter snow time? Where did you go?