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Ouchi-juku Snow Festival

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Ouchi-juku Snow Festival

 

Fireworks, performances, and fun-filled competitions in a samurai-era village

Fukushima Prefecture Tourism & Local Pro

 

 

Back in the days of samurai, Ouchi-juku, in what is today Fukushima, was a bustling post town. Daimyo feudal lords were required by the shogunate to spend every second year living in Edo (present day Tokyo), at the shogun’s service. The long journey to Edo had to be made on foot and as a result, post towns developed along the routes to provide travelers with food and accommodations. Ouchi-juku was once such town and 33 buildings in the area have been painstakingly preserved as they were hundreds of years ago.

 

Every February during the Ouchi-juku Snow Festival Ouchi-juku’s rows of thatched-roof houses, which date back to the Edo Period (1603-1867), are transformed into a winter wonderland. Bright white snow falls and slowly builds up, as candles burn bright in snow lanterns, bathing the old post town in warm light.

 

Various events are held during the two-day festival. Be there on the first evening to see fireworks spraying vibrant colours across the white snowscape. You’ll also spot multi-coloured, hand-made mochi rice cakes hanging in the trees as decorations – a beautiful sight against the powdery, white snow. Get involved yourself by taking part in a wood sawing or noodle eating competition, or kick back and watch performances of traditional performing arts, such as kagura - a form of dance-theatre literally meaning ‘entertaining the gods’ - and yosakoi - energetic routines by groups of colorfully dressed dancers.

 

The festival is held annually on the second weekend in February.

 

How to get there

 

15 minutes by taxi from Aizu Railway's Yunokami Onsen Station.

 

 

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