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Snowman Festival in Shiramine and Kuwajima

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Snowman Festival in Shiramine and Kuwajima


View thousands of illuminated snowmen in this festival held in Ishikawa

Ishikawa Prefecture



Every February, the residents of Kuwajima and Shiramine villages in the Hakusan region of Ishikawa Prefecture, gather together to build snowmen – thousands of them. This region at the foot of 2,700m Mt. Haku and close by the Sea of Japan experiences some of the country’s heaviest snowfall, with over two meters in a regular year. These climatic conditions have shaped a unique way of life as people have learned to live and have fun with the snow each winter.


The first round of the festival takes place in Kuwajima, before it moves over to neighboring Shiramine a week later. Many residents take part in building and decorating the snowmen. After sunset the snowmen are all illuminated to create a glowing, wintery light show.


With or without the snowmen, a walk around Shiramine itself is also recommended. The village’s distinctive architecture is designed to cope with heavy snowfall. The walls of Shiramine’s houses, some of which are over 200 years old, are made from mud so as to insulate the buildings and keep indoor temperatures stable. In 2012, the village was designated as an Important Preservation District for Groups of Historic Buildings


How to get there


From Kanazawa Station take the JR Hokuriku Main Line to Nishi-Kanazawa Station, and from there take the Hokuriku Railway Ishikawa Line to Tsurugi Station. Journey time 45 minutes. Access to Shiramine Taikenmura is then a 65 minute bus ride from Tsurugi Station.



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