cherry blossom forecast: (Japanese version only) version only) (Japanese version only)  

when and where to see cherry blossoms (Japanese version only):

1-30 April Miyako Odori(Cherry Dance), Kyoto
Maiko and geiko dance performances
Advance tickets are available from overseas at:
The performances wil be done at Kyoto Art Theater “Shunjuza”( again this year.

seasonal flowers:

Monday, February 11, 2013

winter festivals(1)

Winter festivals are being held in snowy regions.

Zao Soft Rime Festival 2013(蔵王樹氷まつり2013)
late Jan.-early Feb.
Yamagata Zao hot spring ski resort, Yamagata Prefecture

The festival ended, but Zao Soft Rime Light-up is taking place until March 3.


Soft rime at the Mount Hakkouda(八甲田山), Aomori Prefecutre

Skiers can enjoy soft rime, and overlook the sea from mountain top. Hakkoda ski resort is open from late November to mid May.

Photo by

 Soft rime at Mount Hiko (英彦山, Hiko-san), Fukuoka and Oita Prefectures

Photo by

Soft rime at Mount Daisen(大山), Tottori Prefecture

Photo by

Soft rime at Mount kuju(九重山), Oita Prefecture


Aomori Snow Light Festival(あおもり雪灯りまつり, Aomori Yukiakari Matsuri)
Aomori Station Park, Aomori Prefecture

The Lake Towada Winter Story(十和田湖冬物語)
Lake Towada, Aomori Prefecture
photos at

The Iwate Snow Festival(いわて雪まつり)
Koiwai Farm Makibaen, Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture

Aomori Winter Festival(青森冬まつり)
Aomori City, Aomori Prefecture

The 64rd Sapporo Snow Festival(第64回さっぽろ雪まつり)
Sapporo City, Hokkaido

Asahikawa Winter Festival(旭川冬まつり)
Asahikawa City, Hokkaido

Asahikawa Winter Festival

photo by 北海道無料写真素材集 Do Photo

International Snow Sculpting Competition JAPAN CUP
photo by 北海道無料写真素材集 Do Photo

The 13th International Snow Sculpting Competition JAPAN CUP 2013 in NAYORO
Nayoro City, Hokkaido

aurora in Nayoro
photo by 北海道無料写真素材集 Do Photo

Auroras are seen only once every 10 years or so in Nayoro.

Namahage Sedo Festival(なまはげ柴灯まつり)
Shinzan Jinja Shrine(真山神社), Oga City, Akita Prefecture

The festival is a combination of shrine ritual, Sedo festival and namahage.
(information about namahage at

Hirosaki Castle Snow Lantern Festival(弘前城雪燈籠まつり)
Hirosaki Castle, Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture
photos at

Aizu Art Candle Festival (会津絵ろうそくまつり)
Tsurugashiro Castle & Oyakuen Garden, Aizu Wakamatsu City, Fukushima Prefecture

和蝋燭 japanese candle
和蝋燭 japanese candle by puffyjet /flickr

Morioka Snow Lights Festival(もりおか雪あかり, Morioka Yukiakari)
Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture

photo by 北海道無料写真素材集 Do Photo

The Otaru Snow Light Path Festival (小樽雪あかりの路, Otaru Yuki Akari no Michi)
Otaru City, Hokkaido

Inukko Matsuri(犬っこまつり, Little Dog Festival)
Yuzawa City, Akita Prefecture

The festival dates back 400 years.
more information about this at

Tadami Furusato(Hometown) no Snow Festival(只見ふるさとの雪まつり)
Tadami-mahi, Fukushima Prefecture

The 63th Minami Uonuma Snow Festival
Minami Uonuma City, Niigata Prefecture

The Uesugi Snow Lantern Festival(上杉雪灯篭まつり)
Yonezawa City, Yamagata Prefecture

Obanazawa Snow Festival(尾花沢雪まつり)
Obanazawa City, Yamagata Prefecture

Iiyama Snow Festival(いいやま雪まつり)
Iiyama City, Nagano Prefecture

photo by 北海道無料写真素材集 Do Photo

Snow Lights 2013(雪あかり2013)
Higashikagura-cho, Hokkaido

Mahoroba Winter Peony Festival(まほろば冬咲きぼたんまつり)
Takahata-machi, Yamagata Prefecture
(more infomation about winter peony at

Mahoroba Winter Peony Festival

Snow Lights 2013 in Nishiwaga(雪あかり2013inにしわが)
Nishiwaga-machi, Iwate Prefecture

Paper Baloon Festival of Kamihinokinai(上桧木内の紙風船上げ)
Kamihinokinai, Nishiki-cho, Senboku City, Akita Prefecture

Hiranai Enburi(平内えんぶり)
Hiranai, Hashikami-cho, Aomori Prefecture
(more information about enburi at

Kaminoyama City, Yamagata Prefecture

It is said Kasedori started as an event to pray for business prosperity and fire prevention.  It's a strange event with a history of over 350 years.

Strange Festival "Kasedori" 2009 by f_a_r_e_w_e_l_l /flickr

Kase was derived from "kasegi(稼ぎ, earning money)" or " Kasei(火勢, the force of a fire)". Dori means a bird.

Young people wearing straw coat called Kendai parade through the streets and dance here and there, saying "Kat kat kar!" Town people pour water over them to pray for business prosperity and fire prevention.

Festival "Kasedori" 2009 by  f_a_r_e_w_e_l_l /flickr

The event was discontinued in 1896, and it was revived in 1959.


  1. Thank you, Ichinen, for theis most interesting information about the festivals. I really love the winter peonies festival, it is my favorite flower :D! The picture of the auroara also is very wonderful.
    Greetings, Ilona

    1. In February, there are few tourists in snowy areas except ski areas. Newer festivals started to attract more visitors. On the other hand, most traditional festivals are held as an event on Koshogatu(the 15th day of the 1st month in the lunar calendar.)