The sixth Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale is set to start July 26 in Tokamachi City and Tsunan Town in Niigata Prefecture, north-central Honshu.

Though this mountainous region is known for picturesque wintry snowscapes and lush green summer rice fields, it is beset with the socio-economic effects of an aging and falling population. Despite this, for ETAT's 50-day duration it will come gloriously alive as people from all over Japan and beyond visit one of the nation's — and indeed, the world's — largest and most vibrant art festivals.

Bounded on the east by Japan's longest river, the 367-km Shinano, which flows northward from the Alps to the Sea of Japan at Niigata City, the festival spreads across 760 sq. km of land. There, around 200 villages that are home to fewer than 70,000 residents in all will host 300 artists and performers from 40 countries — and nearly 500,000 "spectator-collaborators" (as attendees are known).