Tohoku (東北) Region is the Northernmost region in Japan’s main island, Honshu Island. It consists of 6 prefectures: Fukushima, Miyagi, Yamagata, Akita, Iwate, and Aomori. Covering about 30% of the main Island, Tohoku is the biggest region in Honshu Island. Tohoku is blessed with magnificent natural scenery that attracts people in any season, especially in winter. Every year there is heavy snow in winter in Tohoku, given the area a more dramatic ambiance. In February when the snow pilling up there are snow festivals you can enjoy in Tohoku. With just a 1-hour bullet train from Tokyo, Tohoku will change your image of a cold winter!
Here is our 6 pick of Snow Festival in Tohoku, arranged in order of the event.
Yamagata Snow Festival (31st January – 2nd February 2020), Yamagata Prefecture
The festival held in Sagae city, which famous for its Cherry production. The Festival featured snow sculptures, live performances, and winter fireworks. There is also an area where you can play with the snow and try snow tubing.
Aizuwakamatsu Painted Candle Festival (7th – 8th February 2020), Fukushima Prefecture
A hand-painted candle is one of Aizu’s traditional craft. The candles were painted in bright colors with a picture of Chrysanthemums, peonies, wisterias, etc. The painted candle had history from 500 years ago, and are a famous item from Fukushima Prefecture. Every year during the Festival, the ground of Aizuwakamatsu castle light up by more than 10,000 painted candles. Creating such a magnificent glittering view.
Access: 10 minutes by bus from JR Aizuwakamatsu station (there is a special night bus operated during the event, check the schedule here)
More details: http://aizu.com/erousoku/
Aone Onsen Yukiakari (9th February 2020), Miyagi Prefecture
Aone Onsen is a Hot spring are located in Zao, Miyagi. It was once known as Date family’s hot spring resort, which visited by many successive lords. During the winter festival, they made about 1,000 small igloos and light a candle inside. The festival is only held for one day in mid-February.
Access: Take Miyagi Kotsu bus from JR Shiroishi station to Togatta Onsen, then take a taxi (~10min) to Aone Onsen
More details: https://www.miyagi-kankou.or.jp/kakikomi/detail.php?id=2273
Iwate Snow Festival (7th – 11th February 2020), Iwate Prefecture
Iwate Snow Festival held in Koiwai Farm Area. The area is famous for its high-quality snow powder. Here you can enjoy many vendor booths, ride on a sled, and even see a fireworks show. There is also eating inside snow igloo experience, offering many local gourmets like Genghis khan (Japanese style grilled lamb) and milk ramen.
Hirosaki Castle Snow Festival (8th – 11th February 2020), Aomori Prefecture
Hirosaki Castle in Aomori is one of the top three locations to enjoy Cherry Blossom in Japan. In winter, the Castle also looks beautiful. The Hirosaki Castle snow festival featured big snow statue, snow light path, and over 150 lantern towers and 300 lantern igloos are built in the park. The snow-covered cherry blossom tree also lights up by pink light giving an illusion of winter sakura.
Access: 15 min by 100 yen bus from JR Hirosaki station
More details: https://www.hirosaki-kanko.or.jp/en/edit.html?id=snow_lantern_festival
Yokote Kamakura Festival (15th -16th February 2020), Akita Prefecture
‘Kamakura’ is the Japanese word for the snow igloos. During the Yokote Kamakura Festival in Yokote City, Akita Prefecture; the whole city transforms into a winter wonderland. More than 100 Kamakura is built and placed all-around the city. People invited to get inside and enjoying warm-sweet amazake and rice-cake. There are more Kamakura miniatures with candled placed inside. The snow festival comes at the same time as a ritual ceremony called “Bonten,” which has been performed for around 300 years.
Access: 10 minutes walk from JR Yokote station
More details: https://www.yokotekamakura.com/01_event/04_winter/kamakura_kaisai.html