YUKIGUNI (Snow Country Tourism Zone)
Uncover the knowledge hidden in the pure white world
As you stand in this pure white world, it can be imagined that the scenery is the same as it would have been 100 years ago. Follow the footprints through the snow in the tracks of a hunter. The local people have mastered the art of preserving mountain vegetables and plants, and are able to turn them into delicious cuisine.
A fire burns in the hearth of the snow-covered dwelling, transcending space and time, it is a flame that has been providing warmth for over 5,000 years.
The soft, insulating snow has wrapped everything in a layer of protection. Hidden inside this pure white world is wisdom, culture and rich blessings.
As the snow melts the new sprouts appear. From the foot of the mountain up to its peak everything is dyed a new green, and then turns shades of pink as the flowers bloom.
When the long spring comes, the rice fields become a vibrant green, and once the short summer has passed, the rice sways like threads of gold.
Fall brings an abundance of fruits and then an abundance of colors. Once the bounty has all fallen to earth, the snow bugs come out to dance, and the purity of the white world returns again.
Snow is the source of everything, and YUKIGUNI (Snow Country) has imparted its knowledge to the inhabitants. The wisdom that has been passed down in genes for 10,000 years, will be handed on with new worth into the future. Now uncover the knowledge hidden in the pure white world.
The Characteristics of this Area
There is snow around from December until April, and in such quantities that it is not matched by other heavy snow areas throughout the world. Particularly in midwinter, from January to February, snow can be seen piling up over 3 meters deep even in inhabitated areas. Then in May as the snow melts it is the season when wildflowers burst into bloom.
Japan's biggest river, the Shinano, as well as the Tone, and Uono rivers flow through, surrounded by mountain peaks over 2000 meters. Due to the snow, the region is blessed with plenty of water, and there are many beech forests. There are also many types of hot springs dotted around.
It is thought that there were large settlements here during the Jomon Period, and many typical examples of the period's flame-shaped pottery have been found. Textile techniques such as dying Echigo Jofu cloth on snow, the culture of the hunter, and wood carving skills have all been passed on through the generations of Snow Country folk.
It is famous for the production of rice and sake, two typical Japanese products. Techniques for drying, pickling and fermenting mountain produce have been passed down from ancient times to present day. These were vital skills necessary to live in Snow Country with stores being collected from early spring until late autumn.