“Kamakura” snow-made huts and a local dish in Iiyama City, Nagano Prefecture
Iiyama City is in northern Nagano, a prefecture about 250 kilometers northwest of Tokyo. Snow is a big part of Iiyama culture since the city is blanketed in it for 4-5 months of the year. From late January to February, locals build over 20 “kamakura” snow huts on a snow-covered rice field and host Restaurant Kamakura Village. The fairytale-like view of the snow-made huts is a symbol of winter in Iiyama and fascinates both overseas and Japanese visitors every year. Inside the hut, you can warm up and enjoy Noroshi Nabe—a local hot pot made with Shinshu miso, locally-grown mushrooms and vegetables. Dining here is a magical experience and sure to be unforgettable. Don't miss the beautiful atmosphere created by lanterns illuminating the huts at night too. Also, the region is famous for its excellent powder snow and is home to some of the best ski resorts in Japan, such as Madarao Kogen. You can enjoy various snow sports, including sledding and snowcat—snow groomer—rides as well as skiing and snowboarding.