Interested in going to a snowman festival? The Hakusan International Association (HIA) is offering to take 10 JET participants to the Snowman Festival in Shiramine for free. This is one of the few ways to get up to the festival to see it in action!
This festival has been going on for 20 years, but it takes place in small towns, so it is intentionally placed on a weekday so the crowds can’t get too big. You can, of course, go on a weekend after the official festival day and see the thousands of snowmen on the side of the street, if you don’t mind the absence of festival food stands and lights.
The event takes place only on Friday, Feb. 6th (in Kuwajima) and Friday, Feb. 13th (in Shiramine), from 15:00-21:00. Food booths will be set up around 15:00, and the light up will go from 17:00-21:00. Reportedly, most food booths will have sold out around 20:00.
*Note: The Kuwajima festival is smaller than the Shiramine festival, so if you can swing it, head out on the 13th!
Van leaves at 14:30 (from Rifare in Kanazawa) and 15:10 (from Hakusan International Salon in Matto). This is a Friday, so it requires taking nenkyuu, but if you don’t have any classes at that time, it’s a great way to experience a unique Japanese festival! The van will leave Shiramine at 19:00.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, January 31, 2009 if you want in on the fun!
Go on your own!
If you’re feeling adventurous, hop on a bus early on Friday (or Saturday/Sunday). Buses leave from Kanazawa Station, but I believe the last train leaves toward Shiramine at 14:30. Always double check the bus schedule before you head off into the snowy wilderness! If you opt to go by car, the trip will take you about 2 hours from Kanazawa.
Photo: Clifford DMello
Looking for a bigger snow festival?
The Sapporo Snow Festival is the largest festival in Japan, drawing millions of people each year. 2009 is the 60th anniversary of the festival and will take place Feb 5th – Feb. 11th. Flights are available from Komatsu Airport.