Yokote Kamakura Festival (Yokote, Akita Prefecture)

Feel the "stillness" of the kamakura and "movement" of the bonden

The Yokote Kamakura Festival is a festival where you can enjoy the Koshogatsu event (Little New Year celebrated on January 15th), kamakura (snow dome), and bonden (Shinto decorations) dedicated to the Asahiokayama Shrine. 

Yokote's kamakura event is held every year on February 15 and 16. Among the approximately 80 kamakura built in the city, children invite passersby into the kamakura and treat them with sweet sake and baked rice cakes.

It is said that the kamakura in Yokote was originally an event in which snow holes were made near the town's wells to worship the water god (Oshizu no kami-san) and pray for good water. Children also played snow games that eventually evolved into the kamakura we see today. 

Also, the bonden contest is held on February 16, when groups compete to create the best bonden, and on February 17, the Asahiokayama Shrine Bonden Festival is held, where the bonden is dedicated to a shrine about 3 kilometers away. 

The word ""bonden"" refers to a large Shinto offering used to summon the spirits of the gods to temporarily inhabit, the Yokote bonden being characterized by its unparalleled size, grace, and splendor. 

The bonden is decorated with colorful ornaments and elaborate headdresses adorned with images of the Chinese zodiac and dolls, is more than 5 meters tall and weighs more than 30 kilograms. 

During the Asahiokayama Shrine Bonden Festival, an array of bonden surrounded by a group of vibrant young men depart from the Yokote City Hall Main Government Building toward the shrine upon the blast of fireworks. Hundreds of young Yokote men arrive at the main shrine, the heat of their struggle turns to sweat and steam, and with their ""Joyasa!"" chants and the sound of the Triton shell horn, the festival reaches its climax.

In addition, there are many other events to see and experience, such as a kamakura photo session, mini-kamakura-making activity, kamakura rental experience, snow sculptures made by neighborhood organizations and companies, mini-kamakura made on the school yards and riverbeds, and product exhibitions.

General Information

Address
秋田県横手市(かまくら)横手市役所本庁舎前 ほか 、(梵天コンクール・奉納祭)横手市役所本庁舎前
Prices
Free
Opening Times
(Kamakura) 18:00-21:00 
(Bonden contest) 9:30-13:00
(Asahiokayama Shrine Bonden Festival) around 9:45-13:00
Directions
・20 minutes on foot from Yokote Station
・10 minutes by car from Yokote Interchange
Car Park
No parking 
*Please use the free parking lot at the Yokote City Hall main building.
Official Website
Yokote City Tourism Association

Contact

Contact
Yokote City Tourism Association
Telephone Number
0182-33-7111
Fax Number
0182-33-7113
E-mail address
yokote@yokotekamakura.com

You might also be
interested in…

Yokote Masuda Manga Museum (Yokote, Akita Prefecture)
View Details
Ouchi-juku
View Details
Kakunodate Bukeyashiki (Samurai Residences)
View Details