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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.

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