This year was the 30th anniversary of the Iiyama Snow Fest. As you entered the town this greeted you and the kids were enjoying the snow slide.
Once you reached the ground where the festival was there were 8 huge snow sculptures!
This one features Mario Cart Racers.
This was the grand prize winner - created by a group of high school students. This marked their 4th consecutive year as the grand pize sculptors. Annually the grand prize is 200,000yen - but this year they added an additional 100,000yen to mark the 30th anniversary! Of course the kids don't get the money... the school does - but they say it all is used for the kids!
Not sure who did the other creations but there was lots of time and effort put forth in freezing temperatures!
This one looks like the seven budda gods.
2012 is the year of the dragon on the Chinese calendar so naturally...
Not sure but perhaps this is the one done by the elementary school.
Another dragon - pretty impressive with the teeth and the tongue curling inside the mouth!
We somehow missed this one on the way in... these guys are very popular at entrance gates as the guards.
There were a couple of different sled activities for the young...or young at heart - to enjoy.
As you can see - snow and freezing temps are no excuse for staying in and missing the fun!
Yatai - or food booths - are very popular at festivals in Japan, and the season makes no difference.
Then we drove a little way to the "Kamakura" -snow hut- grounds.
There were 100 snow huts built! Not counting the small ones lining the walkway that were lit up with candles after dark. Sorry we weren't there that late to get a picture.
The doorways weren't too big but once inside even John could stand up!
Several of the huts were set up with table, fire pot and benches so that you could have a meal inside - out of the cold ;-)!
Every year I've wanted to go so I'm glad we made it this year! It was really fun, and believe it or not, doesn't feel nearly as cold there in all that snow as it is in Nagano City where we live!!!!
God bless and stay warm!