Iwate Snow Festival
The Festival is held every year, generally in early February, on the grounds of the picturesque Koiwai Farm, in Shizukuishi town in Iwate Prefecture. You can see in this picture a solitary sakura tree (cherry blossom tree) and the beloved Mount Iwate in the backdrop.
The Iwate Snow Festival is one of the most popular winter "matsuri" (festival) in northern Japan. With such an outstanding setting, this shouldn't be surprising! There is a variety of activities to do at the festival. Kids (and some adults as well!)love to play in the snow and go sledding.
There are also some impressive huge snow sculptures such as this one. Do you recognize this manga character?
The Sapporo Snow Festival is by far the biggest winter matsuri in Japan and is famous for its snow sculptures, but do not overlook the one in Iwate! For a small town, you'll be impressed by the works on display.
Another popular activity is riding a horse sleigh.
A Japanese matsuri wouldn't be a matsuri without the festival foods sold at the "yatai" which are basically food stalls. You should probably try some "Jingisukan" here. It is a popular lamb dish in the north of Japan. The festival is famous for that.
Eat "Jingisukan" In A "Kamakura" Snow Shelter
Have you heard of kamakuras? They are a traditional type of shelter made by digging a hole in a mound of snow. You'll see them at the festival. You can actually go in some have the festival's specialty food, the jingisukan.
This is what a jingisukan looks like. It's basically a type of yakiniku (grilled meat cuisine) with the main ingredient being lamb. In the kamaura, you cook it by yourself. It's not only delicious but its also fun to make. Grill your dish while chatting with your friend and sipping on some beer.
As for the thing to drink, you've got to try the "amazake" while you are there. It is a type of sake that is sweet and generally has a very low alcohol content. It's the ideal warm drink to have while enjoying a snow festival. You won't have any trouble finding it at the festival.
If you stay until the evening, you'll have the rare chance to watch a beautiful winter fireworks display.
February 2018 Event Information
Here's information on the 2018 edition of the Iwate Snow Festival.
Location: 36-1, Maruyachi, Shizukuishi-cho Iwate-gun, Iwate 020-0507
When: Feb 2nd - Feb 12th 2018, 9:00am - 9:00pm