Area of Gassan Shizu in Yamagata Prefecture is covered by 5m (1.4ft ) in winter.
Many inns lined up along the street and bustled with visitors to the Gassan, the highest peak of the Three Sacred Mountains of Dewa.
It is said to be approximately 400 years ago that people started settling down in this area. It is the event called “Light of Yuki Hatago (inns made of snow)” that reproduces the old townscape utilizing heavy snow.
The process of building these inns is unique. People carve solid snow naturally piled up like making a sculpture, not pile up snow, to make them.
Soft candlelight placed in the inns creates fantastic atmosphere as sun goes down.
The event started with one inn and others joined later to create “Yuki Hatago” in Gassan Shizu Onsen area . The splendid scene with inns of snow makes you feel like traveling back to bygone days.
Each inn of snow is designed elaborately, as students of Tohoku University of Art & Design, local art school, helped the production.
Visitors can check out a shrine make of snow as well as souvenir shop or ice bar offering a glass of hot wine, all under snow hatago.
Subtly sweet hot wine in the cold inn is quite a delicacy.
A JR bus tour departing from and coming back to Yamagata Station, took me to the venue where I tasted a dinner of mountain vegetables at one of inns while enjoyed photo taking and shopping, besides sipping hot wine. The day was up very quickly!
Overnight stay may allow you to spend more time and relax in the hot spring, which I would like to do next year.