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The online magazine HIGHLIGHTING JAPAN

January 2022

Japan’s “Snow Country”

Cover January 2022


  • THEME FOR JANUARYJapan’s “Snow Country”

    The heavy snowfall areas in Japan—places known poetically as yukiguni, or “snow country”—account for around half the nation’s land area. Japanese people living in these areas have developed numerous methods to get through and enjoy their snowy winters. In this month’s issue of Highlighting Japan, we take a look at some of the unique features of life in Japan’s “snow country.”



  • The Bounties of Snow

    An interview with Onodera Satoshi, a researcher at the Nishiwaga Town Snow Country Cultural Institute in Iwate Prefecture

  • The Sapporo Snow Festival

    In early February each year, Sapporo City in Hokkaido hosts the world-famous Sapporo Snow Festival.

  • Yokote Snow Festival

    Yokote City in Akita Prefecture is home to a centuries-old kamakura (snow hut) event, now a part of the Yokote Snow Festival.

  • The Magical Snowscape of Shirakawa-go

    With its steep-roofed houses blanketed in snow, Shirakawa-go in Gifu Prefecture becomes a magical site in winter.

  • Snow Monkeys

    At Jigokudani Yaen-koen (Jigokudani Monkey Park) in Nagano Prefecture, the hot springs attract “snow monkeys” in winter.

  • Snow Aged Sake

    In Niigata Prefecture, a brewing company is drawing on the wisdom of snow refrigeration to produce “uniquely mellow and rich” sake.

  • Cooling Data Servers with Snow

    Bibai City in Hokkaido is working to commercialize the use of snow to cool data servers.

  • Diamond Dust: Hokkaido Winter Glitter

    Hokkaido-based photographer Takahashi Masumi captures the beautiful natural phenomenon of “diamond dust.”



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