Enjoy Famous Snow Events in Tohoku
There are lots of spots with an abundance of snow in the Tohoku area, and the snow event period is generally from December – February each year! In collaboration with Japanese castles and snow, there are lots of sights that look fabulous on social media. This time, we have selected three snow events that are famous in Tohoku! Be sure not to forget to wear gloves, a winter scarf, and thick undergarments and non-slip shoes when you visit as visiting outdoor events during winter in Tohoku might get a little cold!
（1）The Hirosaki Castle Snow Lantern Festival（Aomori）
（2）Yokote Kamakura Festival (Akita)
（3）Aizu Candle Festival (Fukushima)
（1）The snow lanterns are fantastic!
The Hirosaki Castle Snow Lantern Festival（Aomori）
"Hirosaki Castle Snow Lantern Festival" is a winter event in Hirosaki Park, where Hirosaki Castle is located, situated in the Aomori Prefecture and is well-known as a cherry blossoms viewing spot. About 150 large and small snow lanterns as well as snow sculptures are placed around the park and are lit up from sunset to 9:00PM. Hirosaki Castle Snow Lantern Festival is a festival that has been held largely by the local people in an attempt to get some brightness to the white snows and to enjoy the long winter to the max in northern Japan. The main venue, Hirosaki Castle's Yonomaru, has plenty of fun activities such as large snow sculptures made under the theme of historic buildings, and a slide you can go down on sleds and tyre tubes! Also, an installation made by a candle artist using a wooden box that is still used in the "apple industry" that Hirosaki is well-known for (Aomori boasts the largest domestic apple production in Japan) will be displayed. Around 20 stalls are scheduled to open in the Yonomaru area. A "Local sake BAR" will also appear at the festival, so you can enjoy Japanese sake and cider from Hirosaki City, so be sure not to miss it!
There are three recommended photo spots we’d like to introduce.
(1) First, there are candle-lit mini-kamakura snow domes around the western district (around Hasuike). Around 300 domes are arranged to create a fantastic atmosphere.
(2) The second spot is the "Hirosaki Snowlight" venue in the northern district of the park. Get yourself a candle placed in cup, and place it at wherever you wish. You are now being part of creating the venue atmosphere. You can also take photos of the fantastic snow scenery and candles.
(3) The third spot is the Tsugaru Nishiki-e Grand Corridor. Tsugaru's traditional "Tsugaru Nishiki-e" is displayed in a winding corridor. You are sure to be moved by this area that looks like a "a museum on the snow"!
Another highlight is the "Sakura Illuminations in Winter," which makes the exterior moat in the park covered with snow looks like as if it is covered with cherry blossoms in full bloom, so be sure to drop by! For sightseeing around the nearby area, we also recommend stopping by the Tsugaru-han Neputa Village, an experience-based tourist facility with a Hirosaki Neputa theme. Additionally, Hirosaki is a region known for Apple production, so be sure to try apple-based desserts such as "apple pie.”
Event Date: February 11th- February 14th, 2021
※The opening ceremony will be held from 5:00PM on February 10th, 2021 (Wednesday) (scheduled)
Venue: Hirosaki Park (National historic site "Hirosaki Castle Ruins")
Access: Around 30 minutes on foot from JR Hirosaki Station, or get on the city circulation 100yen bus and get off at "City Hall" bus stop, and it’s about 4 minutes on foot from the bus stop.
（2）Enjoy a 450-year-old historic event
Yokote Kamakura Festival (Akita)
"Yokote Kamakura Festival " is a local event with a history of around 450 years held in "Yokote", one of the areas with the heaviest snowfall in Tohoku. The water god is enshrined in a "Kamakura" snow dome. At Yokote Park, where Yokote Castle (Yokote Park Observatory) stands, you can take photos of the Yokote Castle illuminations and Kamakura together.
If you visit Yokote, be sure to try the local cuisine "Yokote Yakisoba", which is famous for its thick and straight square noodle (boiled noodle) with a fried egg and vegetables pickled in soy sauce.
If you would like to buy Akita souvenirs, be sure not to miss "Akita Furusato Village" handmade traditional crafts can be enjoyed with around 10,000 items such as food and specialty products to choose from!
※The details of the event are subject to change as to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Event Date: February 15th - February 16th, 2021 6:00PM - 9:00PM
Event Place: Held at Yokote Park and various other locations throughout the city
Access: about 15 minutes by car from Yokote Interchange to Yokote Park
(3) See 10,000 candle pictures in the snow!
Aizu Candle Festival (Fukushima)
“Aizu picture candle”, is a traditional craft from the Aizu-Wakamatsu area of the Fukushima prefecture. Japanese candles made of wood wax from urushi (lacquer) tree nuts are painted, and each and every one is made by a craftsman through a variety of processes. The "Aizu Picture Candle Festival", which is held in February annually, started around 20 years ago in order to save this traditional craft from disappearing. About 10,000 candles are lit in different parts of Aizu-Wakamatsu City, such as Aizu-Wakamatsu Castle (more commonly known as Tsuruga Castle) and the nationally designated scenic garden, Oyaku-en, and various designs appear in in the snowy landscape.
You can also climb the castle tower of Tsuruga Castle at night during the event. Along with the festival, we also recommend the mountain hot spring "Higashiyama Onsen" along the Yukawa Valley in the suburbs of Aizuwakamatsu City, and the "Aizu Samurai Residence" which is full of attractions such as samurai residences and museums.
Also, the Aizu area is well-known for a hearty sauce Katsudon! Don't miss this delicious dish served with rice and shredded cabbage, together with pork cutlet soaked in savoury sauce on top.
Date: February 12th - February 13th, 2021 5:30PM - 9:00PM
※The event may end earlier than scheduled.
Event Place: Tsuruga Castle, Oyakuen, Spots around Aizu-Wakamatsu City
Access: About 20 minutes from JR Aizu-Wakamatsu Station to Tsuruga Castle via the Machinaka Tour Bus "Haikara-san"
Refer to the following for more information on the facilities mentioned in this article.
Fun Times in Winter Night! The Famous Illuminations in Hokkaido and Tohoku Region
Aizu Candle Festival