Saturday, February 27, 2010

Japanese Igloo Festival - Kamakura Matsuri

Japanese Igloo Festival
Kamakura Matsuri




Image
Kamakura Matsuri - Japanese Igloo Festival in the northern Japanese city of Yokote

In the small city of Yokote in northern Japan, the citizens eschew the modern conveniences of warm homes in the middle of February and pile into small snow huts known as Kamakura. It's the Kamakura Matsuri and they've been doing this for over 400 years.

Image
Sori - old fashion sled for transporting toddlers and supplies

Image

Image
Kamakura occupants wearing old fashion hanten coats or donbuku in the Akita dialect

These Kamamura-style igloos are two meters in diameter made of piled-up snow which is then later hollowed out. Inside is a charcoal brazier in the middle to keep the place warm. The temporary inhabitants of these Kamakura sit on cushions while cooking sweet mochi which is a type of a chewy rice cake and heating up a type of non-alcoholic sweet-tasting type of sake known as amazake.

Image

Image

Image

On the far side wall is a makeshift altar to Suijin-sama, the Shinto god of water. One of the origins of the festival is that one time Yokote suffered from a lack of drinking water and the Kamakura were erected to get Suijin-sama's attention. Suijin-sama's attention is also requested in the form of rain in order to provide enough water for the coming planting season.

Image

Image

Image

Visitors are invited to enter the Kamakura and freely partake of the mochi and amazake. Many of the occupants of the Kamakura are rather short. This is due to the fact that many local children play house in the snow huts. They are the hosts and hostesses which explains why it's hard to find hot sake or beer in many of the Kamakura. The ones with bigger inhabitants will sometimes have the necessary liquid refreshment.

Image
Cooking mochi

Image

Image

In addition to the charcoal braziers, the locals stay warm by wearing a straw cape called mino and a traditional winter coat known as a hanten. Hanten is a short winter coat with thick cotton padding which became popular in the 18th Century. In the Akita dialect it is called a donbuku or donbugu by older generations.

Image

Image
Yokote Castle 

Image

Most of the Kamakura snow huts can hold up to about 4-6 people but at the end of the evening I ended up in one that held 17 people! These were all full grown people so there was booze a-plenty leaving me very warm that cold night but with a raging headache the next morning.

Image

Image

Image

The Kamakura Festival is a simple but beautiful festival and it's very friendly and inviting. The festival is held every year February 15th and 16th from 6pm to 9pm.

Image
Hundreds of miniature kamakura dot the city of Yokote

Image


13 comments:

  1. What a beautiful images because I always wanted to create an igloo in my backyard, the hard part is I should have a system to get that cold, but I wanna get it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a incredible festival I'd like to go to an event like that because they live totally other life style, I wish to be there.

    ReplyDelete
  3. How creative and innovative. I wish I could attend!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thats just wonderful. What a fantastic event.

    ReplyDelete
  5. hello!! Very interesting discussion glad that I came across such informative post. Keep up the good work friend. Glad to be part of your net community.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The post is very nicely written and it contains many useful facts. I am happy to find your distinguished way of writing the post. Now you make it easy for me to understand and implement. Thanks for sharing with us.

    ReplyDelete
  7. A very nice informational blog.Keep on making such important blog post.Your work is really being appreciated by some one.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank for the sharing with us!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Useful information ..I am very happy to read this article..thanks for giving us this useful information. Fantastic walk-through. I appreciate this post. Acura MDX Wiper Size

    ReplyDelete
  10. This is really a fascinating blog, lots of stuff that I can get into. One thing I just want to say is that your Blog is so perfect!

    ReplyDelete
  11. wooowwwwwwwwww it is absolutely fabulous....amazing tooo.... how creative these peoples are.....
    _____________________
    Buy Generic Viagra

    ReplyDelete

There was an error in this gadget

Followers

About Me

My photo
Tokyo, Japan
Vagabond traveler currently hold up in Tokyo. I've done a far bit of traveling and had a few interesting adventures along the way. This blog is a chronicle of adventures past and present and those yet to come. I’ve been to about 30 countries though some no bigger than a kitchen table. I’ve run with the bulls of Pamplona, hiked the Inca Trail, got mugged in Mexico City, floated down the Nile in an old boat, climbed the Great Pyramid of Egypt, got ripped at Oktoberfest, and rode the notorious Tokyo Yamanote Halloween Party Train.