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Snowmen settle in Osaka’s Umeda district

by Magdalena Osumi

Staff Writer

Snowmen, and creating them, have to be among the greatest joys of winter days for both kids and adults, but it’ll be a while longer before we are likely to see any in the city. Unless you are in Osaka. There, thousands of snowmen are about to pop up in 58 locations around the city.

To get visitors and residents into the yuletide mood, the Snowman Festival in Osaka’s Umeda district runs from Nov. 23 through Dec. 25. The event is also a bit of an adventure, where visitors can join a Snowman Stamp Rally to collect stamps at designated locations, as well as vote for their favorite snowman encounter.

Those who take snapshots of any of the 15,000 snowmen dotted around the area, can also enter their best photo in the “Catch the Snowman” photo competition. which will accept entries until Dec. 27.

As many as 188 music performances, workshops and other attractions are being scheduled for upcoming weekends and holidays, while dance shows and parades at the opening and closing ceremonies will add some festive sparkle to the occasion.

Last but not least, visitors can enjoy the “Snowmen Orchestra on Shipboard,” an installation that projects an animated story of a snowman onto the facade of Umekita Ship of the Grand Front Osaka complex. The attraction involves an interactive system as well as a large light installation, and the audience will see snowmen play instruments and sing Christmas carols in response to their own gestures or movements. It runs from Dec. 13 to Dec. 25, everyday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The Umeda Snowman Festival takes place from Nov. 23 through Dec. 25 in various locations around the city, near the JR Osaka Station and Umeda Station on the Hanshin Electric Railway Line. Times vary depending on the event. For more information, visit umeda-connect.jp/special/vol12 (Japanese only), email snowman@umeda-connect.jp, or call 06-6533-2722.