Yokote Snow Festival

by Nan Yang

Yokote Kamakura Snow Festival (横手の雪まつり かまくら) is a traditional winter festival held in Yokote City, Akita Prefecture, Tohoku Region. The event features hundreds of large and small snow domes called Kamakura which will be placed at several locations in the city. Initially, it started to be built to worship to Suijin (water god). Yokote City has over 450 years of history with the traditional snow festival, and it’s the biggest festival in Japan featuring Kamakura.

The event is inspiring through awe-vastness when the snow ground is covered up by thousands of lit snow domes. Visually, the warm lighting contrast the fresh snow, also warming up the night and sending joy to the people. 

It is also inspiring through admiration towards supernatural power. In tradition, when creating a Kamakura, people are also making a faithful bless or wish to their family and loved ones in their heart. The lit-up of the Kamakura would serve as a bridge to get it heard by the water god and when the new year arrives. The virtuous wishes will come true. It is inspiring by gaining admiration and a sense of connection between men and the sacred spirits of nature.

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