Mar 6, 2018

The OLDEST snow festival in Japan

The other day I walked past a sign that showed a picture of some snowy mountains and I thought to myself "I want to go to Toyama again".  The picture was not of Toyama, but instead it was in Nagano, however, seeing that picture reminded me of the time I went to Toyama.

 This is what the mountain range in Toyama looks like.

I visited Unazuki Onsen area of Toyama prefecture in the winter. Unazuki onsen is honestly amazing. Winter onsen is awesome and its even better when you are surrounded by snow covered mountains.  The city is small but there was a lot to see.

During this time there was a winter carnival that was going on. It happens once a year and its actually the largest winter event in all of Japan, despite not being so known for it. I am surprised that its not known by people other than locals because it was actually amazing! 

The event has 3 main attractions.

 Fire sticks.  Everyone can join in. You are given a large stick to carry as a fire torch. I don't have a picture because I got a little lost, but everyone travels up the mountain walking in a line with these. From the bottom it looks cool, like the mountain is on fire. After people come back down from the mountain, they walk through the city and gather in the park.

This part of the festival I was actually not prepared for. The people gathered around a huge tree.

 After a countdown they all rushed into the tree throwing their torches and the tree went up in flames.

 While the tree is burning, fireworks start to go off over the city. I was staying at a nearby Green Hotel so I could see a perfect view of the fireworks from my window, but you can also watch them from the park or from the bridge.

It was really a cool festival.

Unazuki Onsen itself is a beautiful area and the onsen is amazing, but I was very happy that I came around the time of the festival because that made the trip very fun.

I recommend that if you check this place out.


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