Festival in Niigata takes advantage of the weather for snow-themed fun


Staff Writer

Niigata Prefecture hopes to take advantage of its annual helping of heavy snow to organize what appears to be a feverish and even sweaty festival this weekend.

Besides some winter-related art exhibitions, the event will allow visitors to join original snow-themed athletic competitions aimed at strengthening bonds between locals. Visitors that bring a pair of kanjiki (traditional Japanese snowshoes) can take part in a special dance as well.

The festival culminates in a nighttime participatory event led by artist Kyota Takahashi titled “Gift for Frozen Village 2012,” in which visitors will plant light bulbs beneath the snow that twinkle in different colors to create digital flower beds. What results is a rather romantic setting that, despite the region’s frosty temperatures, may be able to recall the warmth associated with spring’s arrival.

Echigo-Tsumari Art Field 2012 Winter takes place in the Echigo-Tsumari area of Tokamachi, Niigata Prefecture, on Feb. 25 and 26. Tickets cost ¥1,300. For more information, call (025) 757-2637 or visit www.echigo-tsumari.jp/news/2011/12/news_2011212_01.