Each winter, the small onsen town of Yunishigawa, in Tochigi's Nikko area, transforms into a winter wonderland with hundreds of 'kamakura', or snow huts, on display. These range from the larger snow houses, which can be entered, to miniature illuminated versions on display at various locations around Yunishigawa Onsen.
The main event takes place at Heike no Sato (平家の里), an open-air museum in the style of a traditional village, with snow-covered thatched houses providing the perfect backdrop to the dozens of illuminated kamakura lining the paths. The larger kamakura can be entered, with many available for reservation to enjoy a special barbecue experience.
The second main location is held at a bridge vantage point down the road to the west, where visitors can admire hundreds of illuminated mini kamakura lining the Zawaguchi river bed. It's a mesmerising view and not to be missed – this site is illuminated everyday except Thursdays.
The rest of town itself also gets in on the action, with a variety of snowmen lining the streets, handmade by the local residents and businesses and other activities—including snow slides and snow shoeing—available throughout the day too.
Creative Director at Japan Travel, based in Tokyo.