The Inukko Festival is a folk event of the Yuzawa region that is said to have a history of about 400 years.
In the past, there were bold robbers who would raid homes in broad daylight. To exterminate these gangs and prevent them from appearing again, the lord of Yuzawa ordered the people to offer small dogs and cranes made from rice flour at the entrances and windows of their homes for the prayer. This is how the festival is said to have begun.
In recent years, the Inukko Festival has transformed to become a festival where people bring their beloved pet dogs to the Inukko Shrine, built from snow, in order to pray for their pets. Various figurines of dogs and halls in various sizes made of snow are erected in the square, and a poetic atmosphere fills the venue as the temples are lit with candles. Various events are held for the dog-owners to have fun with their pets, such as dog exorcisms, the “Yosakoi” dance with dogs, dog runs on snow, and dog cafés.
The festival is at its liveliest on the evening of the first day, when many people turn up to see the winter fireworks, which is also the highlight of the festival.