Skiers and snowboarders who pass through JR Nagano Station should make the effort to take a short side trip to nearby Zenkoji Temple during the week starting Saturday. Wooden buildings that line the street approaching the popular temple will be lit up in five colors for the annual Nagano Tomyo Festival.

The 10-year-old festival aims to spread messages of peace in line with the spirit of the Olympic Games that Nagano hosted in 1994. During the event, seven traditional structures, including the temple's main building and wooden gates, will be lit up in five different colors by well-known lighting designer Motoko Ishii, with a closing ceremony scheduled on the night of Feb. 17. Various vendors along the street will offer hot dishes and sweets. In addition, some 140 participants of a kirie (artistic paper-cutting) contest will have their works displayed on lanterns, to be placed on streets leading up to the temple.

The Nagano Tomyo Festival will be held through Feb. 17 from 6 p.m. till 9 p.m. Admission to the temple during the night festival period will be ¥500 for adults, ¥200 for senior high school students and ¥50 for younger students. No admission is necessary to see many of the festival events in the vicinity. For more information, call the organizer at (026) 259-1005 or visit