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Winter Festivals in Tohoku: Celebrating the Season with Snow and Ice

Sapporo Snow Festival

The Sapporo Snow Festival is one of the most famous winter festivals in Japan, attracting millions of visitors every year. Held in February, the festival features elaborate snow sculptures made by artists from all over the world. The sculptures can be as tall as several stories high and are illuminated at night, creating a magical atmosphere. Visitors can also enjoy food stalls, ice skating, and other activities, making it a great event for families and friends.

Yokote Kamakura Festival

The Yokote Kamakura Festival is a unique winter festival held in Akita Prefecture. The festival features kamakura, igloo-like structures made of snow that are illuminated from the inside. Visitors can enter the kamakura, warm up around the fire pit, and enjoy traditional rice cakes and hot sake. In addition to the kamakura, there are also smaller snow sculptures and snow slides for children. The festival has a long history and is said to have originated as a way for farmers to pray for a good harvest.

Zao Snow Monster Festival

The Zao Snow Monster Festival is held in Yamagata Prefecture and celebrates the unique phenomenon of “snow monsters.” The trees on Mount Zao become covered in snow and ice, creating a fantastical landscape that resembles monsters or aliens. Visitors can ski or snowboard on the mountain and see the snow monsters up close. There are also food stalls and performances by local artists, making it a fun winter event for all ages.


Winter in Tohoku may be cold, but it is also a time of celebration and beauty. Whether you are interested in snow sculptures, kamakura, or snow monsters, there is a festival in Tohoku that you will enjoy. So grab your warmest coat and head out to experience the magic of winter in Japan.
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