Yokote Kamakura Snow Festival In Akita – A Fantastic Winter Landscape!

11.February.2017 | SPOT

The Yokote Kamakura Snow Festival is an annual winter festival held from January to February in Yokote, Akita prefecture, in the Tohoku region of Japan. Not only can you experience seeing kamakura or cave-like houses made from snow, but you can also see the bonden, a large offering ceremony at a Shinto shrine during this amazing event.

Kamakura have been built as a part of the 14th-16th days of the lunar calendar New Year celebrations in the northern areas of Japan for the past 450 years or so; these are built to worship the water gods. After making a monetary offering to the water gods that are enshrined within the kamakura during this time, worshipers pray for blessings regarding the safety of their family, business prosperity, abundant harvests, and for other wishes.

The bonden is a 300 year old traditional event in this region where 5 m tall, gigantic shrine tools are dedicated at a shrine. The men in this procession wear splendid implement-shaped headdresses while competing against one another as they head towards Asahiokayama Shrine, where they battle against one another to enter the main shrine area for the dedications – it is an exciting spectacle to behold.


  • Rilakkuma 20th Anniversary Tour to Visit Aomori, Akita, Miyagi, and Iwate Prefectures

    13.June.2022 | SPOT

    Everyone’s favorite lazy bear Rilakkuma is turning 20, and to commemorate the big event, Sanrio is holding a special tour that is traveling around Japan. From September 8 until October 31, events will pop up in four prefectures in the Tohoku region–Aomori, Akita, Miyagi, and Iwate. Starting in July, the event will be visiting Hokkaido.


    Tohoku Area Exclusive Art♪


    The tour will travel from the northernmost to the southernmost points in Japan over 18 months, and guests visiting each event will be able to find unique prefecture-based environmentally-friendly merchandise. Fans will also be able to participate in SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) such as beach cleanups and support for local food banks and social programs.


    Come take part in this celebration while also giving back to local areas around Japan!


  • Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Collaborates with Akita Prefecture’s ‘a.base’ to Create New Form of Agriculture

    19.May.2022 | FOOD / MUSIC / SPOT

    Celebrating the 10th anniversary of her major-label debut, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is staying active in 2022. Currently on the second half of her 30-show Japan tour to celebrate her 10th anniversary, the artist will perform a solo concert at Nippon Budokan in October. On May 15, Kyary performed in Akita, and the artist has released details about another collaboration as part of the LOCAL POWER JAPAN Project, launched to energize Japan through the appeal of regional towns and cities.

    In Akita, Kyary is teaming up with ‘a.base,’ founded in 2020 to “create new food based in Akita.” The company grows rice and vegetables in the very rich soil of a 30-hectare area in the Asamai district of Hirakamachi in Yokote City, Akita Prefecture, and is also engaged in the development and sales of agricultural products. This unique company was founded by a young man in his 20s–a former bank employee–with a strong desire to revitalize the local agricultural industry, which is currently facing a serious shortage of successors. Aiming to pursue a new form of agriculture, the company reached out to Kyary and the LOCAL POWER JAPAN Project in the hopes that participating would spread their message to more people, inspiring the masses to learn more about agriculture as an essential and creative industry. 


    Immediately interested, the LOCAL POWER JAPAN Project started the collaboration with an homage to Kyary’s 2013 song Mottai Night Land. In Japanese, mottainai means ‘wasteful,’ and the message for the new collaboration is that Japanese agriculture and the Akita region will go to waste if not protected. 


    Mottainai to Rice (300g/5kg)


    Collaboration T-shirt

    A collaborative product available in original packaging, Mottainai to Rice is Akitakomachi rice grown in-house in Asamai Hirakamachi, Yokote City, Akita Prefecture. Grown under special cultivation standards, all pesticides and chemical fertilizers are halved compared to conventional growing methods. 


    A collaborative T-shirt is also on sale featuring the new logo and the singer’s 10th-anniversary logo. Grab it at the LOCAL POWER JAPAN Project website by May 27!

  • Takara Tomy’s ‘Pretty Series’ Releases Rice as Part of 10th Anniversary Project

    11.June.2021 | ANIME&GAME / FOOD

    Last year, Takara Tomy launched a special project in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Pretty Series rhythm game, which has continued into and through 2021. As part of the project, the company introduced a side project called the ‘Support Everyone’s Home Project’ to bring together fans and locals across all regions of Japan to help promote those regions, their products, and famous sightseeing spots.


    Pretty Rice promo illustration

    Planting the rice

    The first location to be part of the project is the town of Ugo in Akita Prefecture. Yui Yumegawa, the blonde-haired, rice-loving idol character and protagonist of Idol Time PriPara, has been appointed the official ambassador of Ugo. The town is known for its Akita Komachi brand of rice which Yui is helping to promote. As part of the project, people will be able to help farm the rice together with local children in Ugo. The rice they are cultivating is packaged and sold as Pretty Rice. The packaging of the rice features a cute illustration of Yui.


    The project has much more planned for the future with even more characters set to become spokespeople for regions across Japan.



    © T-ARTS / syn Sophia / テレビ東京 / PSプロジェクト

  • Takara Tomy’s ‘Pretty Series’ Launches 10th Anniversary Project

    02.April.2021 | ANIME&GAME / SPOT

    In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Pretty Series rhythm game, a special project has launched to bring together fans and locals across all regions of Japan to help promote those regions, their products, and famous sightseeing spots.

    The first location to be part of the project is the town of Ugo in Akita Prefecture. Yui Yumegawa, the blonde-haired, rice-loving idol character and protagonist of Idol Time PriPara, has been appointed the official ambassador of Ugo. The town is known for its Akita Komachi brand of rice which Yui is helping to promote. As part of the project, people will be able to help farm the rice together with local children in Ugo. The rice they cultivate will be packaged and sold as Pretty Rice.

    The project has much more planned for the future with even more characters set to become spokespeople for regions across Japan.

  • Odate City in Akita to open new tourist exchange centre featuring cute and fluffy Japanese Akita dogs!

    04.May.2019 | SPOT

    In the cultural northern region of Japan, a tourist exchange centre will open in front of JR Odate Station in Odate city, Akita! The centre, which is called the Akita Dog Visitor Centre (Akita Inu no Sato) will open on Wednesday 8th May.


    At the Akita Dog Visitor Centre, you can fully discover Akita’s most beloved furry friend the Japanese Akita dog! The centre also contains a museum where you can learn about the history of Japanese Akita and their characteristics. There is also a tourist information desk, souvenir corner and much more! You can also visit the Japanese Akita exhibition area where you can get close to the Akita dogs or pop by the large lawn area located right next to the exhibition room to play with the dogs!

    A statue dedicated to the faithful Akita dog Hachiko will be located right outside the centre. Hachiko was born in Odate city back when it was called Niidamura. Hachiko is known worldwide as the dog who waited faithfully for his owner’s return in front of Shibuya station from the Taisho era to the start of the Showa era. The Hachiko statue will be moved from its current position in the front of JR Odate station to in front of the Akita Dog Visitor Centre in order to properly greet the people and dogs who come to visit. At the grand opening ceremony on the 8th May, there will be a photo stand-in board allowing anyone to transform into the faithful dog Hachiko. You can also see a red and white curtain made to take on the appearance of the fur of a Japanese Akita ー this is going to be one fluffy ceremony!


    There are also two special promotion measures to support the grand opening!

    The first promotion measure is an original web video series called “Akita Inu ga Odate no Miryoku o shinan!? Odate Lesson by Akita Dog”. This is an official web series released by Odate city featuring an Akita dog teaching the world about the famous cultural wonders of Akita! From local food such as Kiritanpo (rice sticks) and delicious Hinaichidori chicken to crafts made from Akita sugi cedar wood, and spots such as the mountainous region of Tashiro Dake, this dog will show you everything! The web series is available on the YouTube channel called Akita Inu no Sato (秋田犬の里).

    The second promotion measure is the release of a newspaper which will feature a countdown to the grand opening. The newspaper will contain the latest information and will be launched on Wednesday 1st May and lead up to the grand opening! The contents will be like Japan’s famous newspaper Mainichi Shimbun, but its main design theme will be the Japanese Akita. The contents will really bring out the wonders of the region’s loyal Akita dogs!


    Through the Akita Dog Visitor Centre, Odate city is aiming to spread the news of the beloved Japanese Akita dog. They hope to create a facility that is loved by many people, so please come attend the grand opening ceremony of the Akita Dog Visitor Centre on Wednesday 8th May!

  • Akita the Dog is Taking Over Shibuya to Promote Akita Prefecture

    01.September.2018 | SPOT

    Akita is the name of a dog (who is also of the dog breed Akita) who has been used to promote tourist information about Akita Prefecture in northern Honshu since 2016. The 4th promotional campaign will be run from September 3 to October 31.

    The campaign is being taken to Shibuya in Tokyo. This is an ideal location because not only are there many tourists in Shibuya, but it’s also affiliated with the famous dog Hachiko, who was also an Akita dog born in Akita Prefecture


    The campaign’s catchphrase “GO! AKITA” has been changed to “Yeah! AKITA” to express Akita the dog’s joyful voice for his hometown as well as to capture traveller’s reactions to visiting the prefecture.

    Look out for the big advertising posters of Akita the dog featuring photos posted on his social media that show the beauty of Akita Prefecture such as at Nekobari Iwa and next to a Kashima (above).


    10,000 free rubbish bags will also be handed out featuring an Akita the dog “Happy HalloWan!” design – with wan being the Japanese equivalent of ‘woof.’ The streets of Shibuya become very messy during Halloween, so Akita will be there to lend a paw!

    Akita will be dotted all around Shibuya promoting Akita Prefecture, so be sure to find him everywhere!



    Advertising Locations

    ( 1 ) Keio Inokashira Line trains (body of train and posters hanging inside)

    Running: September 3, 2018 – September 30, 2018

    ( 2 ) JR Shibuya Station – Shibuya Hachiko Cross

    Details: A 1.75m x 3.7m sized board will be placed in the northern passageway inside the Hachiko Entrance ticket gates.

    Running: September 16, 2018 – September 29, 2018

    ( 3 ) Shibuya Station, Tokyo Metro (Hanzomon) pillars

    Running: September 17, 2018 – September 23, 2018

    ( 4 ) Omotesando Station, Tokyo Metro pillars

    Details: 11 pillars will be used inside the ticket gates of Omotesando Station

    Running: September 24, 2018 – September 30, 2018

    ( 5 ) Happy HalloWan! Rubbish Bags Sampling

    Details: To help clean up the streets of Shibuya during Halloween, 10,000 free rubbish bags will be handed out in front of Shibuya Mark City and in two places in front of the Moyai statue.

    Available: October 27, October 28 and October 31


    Website: http://www.akitafan.com/ike-ike-akita/


  • Nanavi reports on the latest news in Tohoku and Niigata for your travel plans

    16.January.2018 | SPOT

    Nanavi is a news website that provides information on seven prefectures in Japan: Aomori, Iwate, Akita, Miyagi, Yamagata, Fukushima, and Niigata. New reports for 2018 detailing must-see information for these prefectures is currently spilling forth.


    Secret Charms of Yamagata: The Foot of Mount Zaō!

    Yamagata-shi, the capital of Yamagata Prefecture, is a place of scenic and natural beauty famous for many reasons, including being home to the Zaō Onsen and being the stage for Matsuo Basho’s poems, the most famous Edo period poet. It’s a popular tourist with a very unique culture, including a big food culture that centers on imoni simmered potatoes, ramen and more.

    Website: https://nanavi.net/series

    Aomori Prefecture Latest News: ‘Apple Park Winter Festival’

    Snow, apples… we’re talking wintertime in Aomori! Aomori Prefecture is the leading producer of apples in Japan. Its city of Hirosaki is known as ‘apple town’ and celebrates winter with the Ringo Kouen Winter Festival (Apple Park Winter Festival) where you can enjoy their famous apples together with the piling snow. There are plenty of fun workshops and activities to enjoy – and you can even try eating a cooked apple.

    Aomori-shi, the capital city of Aomori Prefecutre, hosts the Aomori Yuki Akari Matsuri (Aomori Snow Light Festival) where your heart and mind will be healed by the soft, warm lights possible only in winter.

    Website: https://nanavi.net/keyword/96

    Iwate Prefecture Latest News: Spectacular Ice Sculptures at Iwate’s ‘Snow Festival’

    The ‘Iwate Snow Festival’ is held in the town of Shizukuishi in Iwate Prefecture. When talking about ice sculptures in Japan, most people will think about those at the annual Sapporo Snow Festival, but the sculptures in Iwate are also a dazzling sight to see. When lit up, they are truly impressive. The festival also holds various exciting events.

    The latest reports also highlight ‘Iwachu Tekkikan,’ a long-standing shop that shelves traditional handicrafts and ironware form the south. They have typical traditional items as well as more colourful and contemporary ones.

    Website: https://nanavi.net/keyword/108

    Akita Prefecture Latest News: Witness Animals You Can Only See Here

    News from Akita Omoriyama Zoo puts spotlight on the “Yuki no Doubutsuen” (Snow Zoo) that is praised every year. During this event, you can examine bears in hibernation, as well as witness how animals live life in the snow. It’s a fresh experience indeed, made possible only by this special zoo that is situated in a region that receives heavy snowfall.

    In the city of Odate, they will hold an event titled ‘Hinai Tori no Shi’ where you can try eating Japan’s 3 main chickens that have been locally raised, Kiritanpo and lots of other delicious food.

    Website: https://nanavi.net/keyword/122



    Fukushima Latest News: If you’re looking for winter activities, look no further!

    Fukushima has a lot of snowfall. ‘Urabandai Lake Resort’ is a spot where you can enjoy fun winter activities to the fullest. All items in the establishment are free to rent and use. If you’re looking to enjoy yourself, then this snow country is the place to be.

    Website: https://nanavi.net/keyword/135


    The new year has arrived, which means the real winter is here for these prefectures. Although the cold is bitter, the snow country shines even brighter in winter.


    If you’re thinking of heading to Tohoku or Niigata, be sure to check “Nanavi” first!



    Homepage: https://nanavi.net/

  • Christmas is coming soon! Six recommended illumination events in Tohoku Area

    07.December.2017 | FEATURES / SPOT

    It’s already December and the Christmas season is upon us. In this article, I will introduce to you some recommended illumination events in the Tohoku Area.


    Towada Art Center / Art Space (Aomori Prefecture)


    The art space in front of the center is colored in blue with about 300 thousand LEDs making for a magical atmosphere. Many art works look different at nighttime so, you can enjoy a gorgeous time watching the combination of light and art works.

    The open space colored in blue is very awsome.



    Venue: Towada Art Center / Art Space

    Address: 3, 3rd avenue, Towada-shi, Aomori Prefecture

    Date: 2017,12,01 (Fri.) to 2018,02,14 (Wed.)

    Time:16:30 to 21:00

    TEL:0176-51-6772 Towada City Tourism Promotion Agenct





    Koiwai Farm (Iwate Prefecture)

    The largest illumination event held in the Tohoku Area which is held inside Koiwai Farm. The whole farm is lit up with illuminations. Restaurants and stores are opened for a limited time offer so you can eat Koiwai Farm’s special dishes and buy limited goods while enjoying the illumination event. Also, they hold fireworks events every Saturday and on the last day which is the 28th of January 2018 (Sun.). The combination of the starry winter sky and the fireworks is a must-see.

    The largest illumination event in the Tohoku Area held on this vast farm is splendid.



    Venue: Koiwai Farm

    Address: 36-1, Maruyachi, Shizukuishicho, Iwategun, Iwate Prefecture

    Date: 2017,11,18 (Sat.) to 2018,01,28 (Sun.)

    Time: 15:00 to 20:00 / until 21:00 on every Saturday and the last day 01,28 (Sun.)





    Flower & Garden Mori no Kaze (Iwate Prefecture)

    A combination event of a night designer’s garden and 340 thousand electric bulbs. This year they have also added a light line which looks like railroad tracks and a circular illumination that looks like a planet floating in the universe. On specific days, they hold a fireworks event (Illumination Fantasy). Don’t miss this collaboration of renewed illuminations and fireworks.

    It is a new kind of illumination event which is a combination event of illuminations and Kenji Miyazawa’s (Japanese writer, poet) famous story “Ginga Tetsudo no Yoru” (Milky Way Railroad) .



    Venue: Flower & Garden Mori no Kaze

    Address: 10-64-1, Oshuku, Shizukuishicho, Iwategun, Iwate Prefecture

    Venue: 2017,9,1 (Fri.) to 2018,1,8 (Mon.)

    Time: 17:00 to 20:00

    TEL:019-691-8787 Flower & Garden Mori no Kaze





    Jozenji Street (Miyagi Prefecture)


    “SENDAI Hikari no Pageant” is a winter event in Sendai where the city of woods changes into a city of light. A magical world of light can be enjoyed where 160 zelkovas on Jozenji Street are lit up with 600 thousand LEDs under the theme of “the light of heart.” On the 8th of December (Fri.), they will hold a light-up ceremony at the pedestrian path in front of Sendai Media Take. Moreover, they are planning to hold many kinds of events including “Santa no Mori no Monogatari” where citizens wear Santa Clause suits and parade down Josenji Street.

    You will be surprised with the beautiful illumination events held on Jozenji Street.



    Venue: Jozenji Street (Higashi Nibancho Street ~ Shiminkaikan)

    Address: 1st avenue, Aobaku, Sendaishi, Miyagi Prefecture etc…

    Date: 2017,12,08 (Fri.) to 12,31 (Sun.)

    Time: Monday to Thursday 17:30 to 22:00, Friday / Saturday / 12,24 (Sun.) 17:30 to 23:00, 12,31 (Sun.) 17:30 to 24:00

    TEL:022-261-6515 SENDAI Hikari no Pageant Planning Bureau




    Sendai Trust City (Miyagi Prefecture)

    Sendai Trust City will be filled with about 550 thousand LEDs and the open space in front of Trust City Plaza and Yanagimachi Street will be filled with campaign gold-colored lights. Also, the light-up arch tunnel shaped like a Christmas wreath will be set up in the open space in front of Trust City Plaza. In addition, they will decorate the whole area and hold a projection mapping event from the 1st of December (Fri.) to the 25th (Mon.).

    Don’t miss these illumination events which include projection mapping events (limited time offer).



    Venue: The open space in front of Trust City Plaza (Sendai Trust City) etc…

    Address: 1-9, Ichibancho, Aobaku, Sendaishi, Miyagi Prefecture

    Date: 2017,11,17 (Fri.) to 2018,02,28 (Wed.)

    Time: 17:00 to 24:00






    Kasumi Central (Yamagata Prefecture)


    Blue illuminations decorate the ceiling of the observation lobby which is one of the highest lobbies in Yamagata to represent a starry sky. The light reflects on the windows and you can enjoy the collaboration of the lights and the night view of Yamagata. Also, pink and white colored LEDs are decorated on the 20m high tree and the lights of a smiling Santa Clause are projected on the sky. The tree can be used as a photo spot since you can get inside the tree to take photos.

    It is an event where you can enjoy an illumination view from inside a warm building while sitting on lobby’s bench.



    Venue: Kasumi Central 24F Observation Lobby, 1F Atrium

    Address: 1-1-1, Shirominamimachi, Yamagatashi, Yamagata Prefecture

    Date: 2017,11,11 (Sat.) to 2018,02,18 (Sun.)

    Time: Noel de Swieu ~Tenku no Christmas~ (24F observation lobby) 16:00 to 23:00

    Kajosen no Xmas Illumination 2017 (1F atrium) 9:00 to 22:00

    TEL:023-646-7272 Kasumi Central Management Association




    How did you like our introduction to illumination events in the Tohoku area? Let’s enjoy these beautiful illumination events along with the winter views of the Tohoku Area.


  • Six recommended autumn color spots in the Tohoku area.

    14.November.2017 | SPOT

    It is said that autumn leaves look more beautiful when the nighttime/daytime difference in temperature is greater.

    The Tohoku area has lots of mountains and valleys so there are many places where you can view beautiful autumn leaves! In this article, I will introduce to you some popular spots.

    Hirosaki Park (Aomori)

    This park has about 1,000 maple trees and 2,600 cherry trees. You can see gorgeous kikuningyo (Japanese traditional dolls) and chrysanthemums at “Hirosakijo Kiku to Kohyo Matsuri” which is held inside the botanical garden of the park.


    Hirosaki Park

    Address: 1, Shimoshiroganecho, Hirosakihi, Aomori

    Access: 15 minutes on the bus (Fujishiro Eigyosho) departing from Hirosaki Station. The park is close to the bus stop called “Shiyakusyo Mae Koen Iriguchi.”



    Chusonji (Iwate)

    A famous temple which is the mausoleum of Ousyu Fujiwara Family. It is a famous spot which mourns the war deaths. The spot was enrolled as the world’s heritage which has many kinds of maple trees.



    Address: 202, Aza Kinutome, Hiraizumi, Hiraizumicho, Nishiiwaigun, Iwate

    Access: 5 minutes on car from JR Hiraizumi Station, 30 minutes on car from JR Ichinoseki Station




    Dakigaeri Canyon (Akita)

    A canyon that has mountain stream running between a virgin forest and bluffs. The view from the bridge called “Kamino Iwa Bridge” and the autumn leaves around Mikaeri no Taki (waterfall) are superb. You can enjoy watching strange-shaped rocks, rapid streams and small/big waterfalls while walking on the walking path.


    Dakigaeri Canyon

    Address: Tazawako, Senbokushi, Akita / Tazawako Dakigaeri Prefectural Park

    Access: 20 minutes on car from JR Tazawako Station, 15 minutes on car from JR Kakunodate Station





    >>next page

  • 【MOSHI MOSHI Pick-Up Spot】Traditional Culture Festival: Shin Akita no Gyoji in Odate 2016

    06.October.2016 | Uncategorized

    Experience a variety of Akita’s traditional culture all in one place


    Akita prefecture has 17 different kinds of nationally designated, intangible, folk cultural properties which is the largest number throughout Japan. The big event that gathers festivals, traditional cultures and other folk events is coming up this fall. It’s named “Traditional Cultures Festival: Shin Akita no Gyoji in Odate 2016.” It is a new type of event where you will be able to experience Akita’s traditional culture in Odate Jukai Dome, Odate city.




    There is a main stage inside the dome which holds more than 2000 seats where you can see the strong and powerful performances. There are also booths near the stage where you will be able to see other performances. The program consists of “Akita no Kanto” from Akita city, “Kemanai no Bonodori” from Kazuno city, “Honkai-Shishimai-Bangaku” from Yurihonjo city, “Tsuzureko no Odaiko” from Kita-Akita city, “Odate-Shinmeisha-Reisha no Hikiyama Gyoji” from Odate city, “Sannai-Bangaku” from Gojome-machi, and “Namahage Daiko” from Oga city. You will also be able to participate in some experience such as holding “Kanto” which is a bamboo pole bearing many lanterns and dressing up as “Namahage” which is a Japanese folklore demon-like being. The traditional craft of making containers such as lunch boxes by bending wood called “Odate Magewappa” from Odate city will be exhibited as well.


    At the same time, there will be a food festival for many different kinds of meat dishes from this area called “Niku Haku ~Niku no Hakurankai in Odate 2016.” Outside of the Odate-Jukai Dome, booths which sell Hinaijidori, one of the most popular chicken brands in Japan, Odate-Sakura pork, Akita beef, and horse meat will be lined up. Other than these, there will be a lot of booths that advertise sightseeing spots, foods, sake, hot springs, and special products from this area. These events in Odate where people can enjoy watching and experiencing many different traditional events from Akita will attract a great deal of public attention.



    Event Schedule : October 29th Sat 12:00~7:00PM

                                   October 30th Sun 10:00AM~6:00PM

    Place : Odate-Jukai Dome

    Access : A free shuttle bus will be running from JR Ou Main Line, Odate station to the Dome.

    It takes about 2 hours to go from Akita station to Odate station on the JR Ou Main Line.

    Admission Free

    Call for inquires : Shin Akita no Gyoji Executive Committee Office (018-860-1530)




    ▪️Related article:MOSHI MOSHI Pick-Up Spot:Go on tours with the new convenient Hokkaido Bullet Train!