Local Snow Festival
Mix with Locals at a Traditional Cultural Event
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- Tour starts and ends in Otari
Come along for an incredibly unique travel experience, and join us as we attend our local snow festival. This is a small community event that attracts exactly zero tourists, but what it lacks in notoriety and scale it more than makes up for in rural charm, authenticity, and the opportunity for unparalleled cultural immersion. And since we live locally, there won't be any awkwardness from showing up uninvited if you're with us. ;) On this full-day tour that begins just after lunch, depending on weather conditions, we will start with a drive to a scenic overlook that offers excellent views of the Northern Alps, the village of Otari and numerous ski resorts of the Hakuba Valley. We will take some time to enjoy the views and snap some photos before moving on to our next destination, a history and mineral rich rejuvenating hot spring located deep in the mountains. Soak and relax at your leisure, and once you're fully refreshed - we'll take a small break for tea and sweets on the premises. Afterwards we'll make our way to the festival grounds and have the opportunity to observe and even participate in karaoke as we chow down on the assortment of home cooking being served and shared by the festival goers. All the while final preparations for the evening's massive "bonfire"continue in the background. Calling it a bonfire, however, is much too simplistic as it is actually a traditional burning of New Years decorations and religious charms bought from temples and shrines and displayed throughout the previous year. The burning of these items is meant to send the people's prayers and wishes for health and happiness in the New Year to the heavens, enveloped in the upward wafting smoke. Once the intensity of the fire begins to wane, branches laden with colorful clumps of "mochi" are passed out, and participants roast the mochi in the bonfire, much like marshmallows are roasted over a campfire, but with more mochi and a much larger fire - before eating them in a meaning-rich ritual.
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