Winter Events

The Tokamachi Snow Festival: "Befriend and enjoy the snow!"

The first Tokamachi Snow Festival was held around 65 years ago on February 4, 1950. It was born from a collective and spontaneous feeling shared among many of Tokamachi's residents at the time that we should "befriend and enjoy the snow". As such, the Tokamachi Snow Festival was an expression of their determination to overcome the hardships brought about by heavy snowfall, while recognizing both the difficulties and beauty of the winter season. The first Tokamachi Snow Festival was organized by the Tokamachi Cultural Association, and it featured among other things: an exhibition of artworks created from the snow; a ski road-relay race; and a "carnival" in which people enjoyed local folk songs gathered around a fire in memory of those who had passed away in the war. Tokamachi has since come to be known as the birthplace of the modern snow festival.

The Tokamachi Snow Festival:
Echigo-Tsumari Snow Fireworks

Echigo-Tsumari Snow Fireworks

The Echigo-Tsumari Snow Fireworks is a spectacular event that illuminates the pure white snowfield. Rapid firing "starmine" fireworks bring a thousand colors to the winter's night sky. There is also a show by artist Kyota Takahashi named "Gift for Frozen Village" which uses snow blowers and lights to show the snow from a new perspective. In the spectators zone there are a number of booths set up selling delicious local Echigo-Tsumari cuisine and yukimizake "snow-viewing sake".

The Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale

Held triennially since 2000, the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale is one of the largest contemporary art festivals in the world. Its projects, which are based on the theme of "human beings as a part of nature", uncover the values of rural life shown through the medium of contemporary art.

The Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale

Summer Events

Summer Events

Tokamachi Oomatsuri, a traditional summer event

This traditional summer festival is full of energy and excitement. Revelers carry mikoshi "floats" through the city at night, and there are also children's mikoshi, akashimanto floats and performances of niwaka and local folk songs and dances. The mikoshi are a rare octagonal shape, and as such they are nicknamed aramikoshi "rough mikoshi". The festival reaches its climax with the final day's kangyo performance.

Spring Events

Tokamachi Kimono Festival

The Tokamachi Kimono Festival takes place every year on May 3. It's the largest spring event in Tokamachi, a city which prides itself for its tradition of textile production. The city centre, which becomes a pedestrian only zone, fills up with men and women of all ages adorned in the beautiful colors and patterns of kimono. The festival offers those who do not own a kimono the chance to rent or try on kimono. Also, there is a kimono market and a photoshoot with Tokamachi's kimono queens. Events such as jusan mairi (a coming of age ceremony for 13-year old children) and chigo-gyoretsu (a children's parade) are also held on this day.

Tokamachi Kimono Festival

Autumn Events

Autumn Events

The Autumn colors of the Bijinbayashi Forest

The Bijinbayashi Forest on the hills of Matsuguchi is filled with 90-year old Japanese beech trees. In Japanese, the word bijin means "beautiful woman"; the beech trees of the forest are said to resemble the tall slender figures of beautiful women. In the autumn, the tree's leaves turn from green to yellow, and the ground is colored orange by the fallen leaves, creating an ethereal atmosphere.

Festival & Event Calendar

*Schedules are subject to change due to weather conditions. Please check before visiting.

January

Tokamachi Winter Markets (Chinkoro Markets) (10th, 15th, 20th, 25th)

Ohshirakura Baito (14th)

Muko-nage & Sumi-nuri (15th)

February

Tokamachi Snow Festival (3rd weekend)

March

Tamonten Nude Crowd Festival (3rd)

Echigo-Tsumari Snow Fireworks (Early March)

Kawanishi Snow Festival (Early March)

Snow Carnival Nakasato (2nd Saturday)

Echigo-Matsudai Fuyu no Jin (2nd weekend)

Matsunoyama Onsen Ski Resort Ski Carnival (Mid-late March)

April

Noguchi Mizubasho Festival (Mid-April - Early May)

Shinano River Terrace Walk (Late April)

Chojagahara Cherry Blossom Festival (Late April - Early May)

May

Tokamachi Kimono Festival (3rd)

Fushikurojo Mountain Opening Festival (Sunday in Late May)

Matsunoyama Birdwatching Event (Last Sunday)

June

Sasayama Jomon Festival (Early June)

July

Tokamachi Ballard Contest (1st Saturday)

Komatsubara Trekking Tour (Early July)

Senju Kannon 17th Night Festival (16th,17th)

Matsudai Kannon Festival (Mid-July)

August

Midsummer Snow Festival (14th)

Tokamachi Summer Festival (25th-27th)

September

Akakura Kagura Music Festival (1st Saturday)

Senju Shrine Autumn Grand Festival (Early Spetember)

Koshirakura Tree Pulling (7th)

Kimono Town Quilt Exhibition (Mid-Sept to Early Oct)

October

Komatsubara Trekking Tour (Early Oct)

Ro-Man 24 in Matsudai (Early Oct)

Birthplace Festival (2nd weekend)

Senda Harvest Festival (Last Sunday)

Tokamachi Industry Festival (Mid-Oct)

November

Echigo-Tokamachi "Soba Kingdom" Local Soba Festival (Early Nov)

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