A fantastic world appearing on a snow country evening.
Chatting with children in rooms made of snow.
A room made by carving out a mound of snow is called a kamakura. In Yokote City, more than 100 kamakura and countless miniature kamakura are made. The candle lights of these snow white kamakura produce a quiet, beautiful spectacle against the darkness. This 400 year old festival is said to have its origins in the traditional event of returning New Year decorations to the gods by burning them, and also in the custom of children chasing away birds damaging crops. Inside the kamakura, an altar is set up to honor the water gods and to pray for plenty of clear water, while sake and rice cakes are offered to the gods. Passers-by are invited by the children, in Akita dialect, to come inside the kamakura and drink some sweet fermented rice brew. Everyone has a good time chatting while eating rice cakes and sweets, which is the conventional way of spending time in kamakura. On the other hand, numerous rows of tiny kamakura stand in the grounds of the Yokote Minami Primary School in the city, with the lights shining from within creating a very romantic scene.