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Ouchi-juku Snow Festival with Lanterns

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


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

Fukushima Prefecture Tourism and Local Products Association



Back in the days of the samurai, Daimyo feudal lords were required to spend every second year at the shogun’s service in Edo (present-day Tokyo). The journey to Edo had to be made on foot, so post towns were developed along the routes to provide travelers with food and lodging. Ouchi-juku was such a town. Today, 33 of its buildings have been preserved as they were during the Edo period (1603-1867).
Every February during the Ouchi-juku Snow Festival, the rows of thatched-roof houses are transformed into a winter wonderland. As snow builds up, candles burn bright in lanterns, blanketing 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 colors across the white snowscape. You’ll also spot multi-colored, hand-made mochi rice cakes hanging in the trees as decorations. Take 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-theater 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, perfect for some winter tourism.


How to get there

Take the JR Tohoku Shinkansen bullet train from Tokyo Station to Koriyama Station, then take the JR Ban-etsu West Line to Aizu-Wakamatsu Station. From there, take the Aizu Railway train to Yunokami Onsen Station, which also takes about 15 minutes by taxi or bus. 


Yamamoto, Ouchi, Shimogo-machi, Minamiaizu-gun, Fukushima-ken


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