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Hc : Akita: Yokote
Yokote is a small city of roughly 30,000 in mid-southern Akita, in the northern part of the main island of Japan.

Bonden Festival
A rural Japanese festival in Yokote city where groups of men wearing pajamas in severe winter weather build and decorate long rods that they carry two kilometers uphill to shove into the town's temple.
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Kamakura Festival
In the mist of a deep cold winter in north Japan, the snow in Yokote lights up with candle light.
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Hiragen Ryokan
Your chance to sleep in a museum: Hiragen Ryokan has lasted since the Meiji-era, before 1900, chock full of bric-a-brac, art and culture.
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I went there in the winter of 2002, as the town is reputed to have some of the most serious snowfall in Japan.

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shovelling February 11:

I emerge from lunch at a soba shop and pull the brim of my old man hat down close to my glasses. Lowering my head against the windy snow, I trudge back to my hotel, towards the train station and what seems to be the center of town. Soon I come on a busy street. There's a hospital, a cake and sweets shop, a haberdasher. Two hairdresses, two book shops. Outside a number of people are all working in the street - a surprising sight in these chilly times. index.html They are all vigorously shoveling. Using large two handed shovels, they push man-sized mounds of snow into holes in the street. When the grates are lifted up, you can see here that the gutters in Yokote exist below the street, a current of swift running water that carries off all the snow that's routinely shoveled into it by the locals. And all while they worked, loudspeakers carried a symphonic score, a rousing number with violins, like a battle scene from the end of a three hours film epic. I asked one of them, "This happens every day?" "So."

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The popular regional cuisine these last few years has been Yakisoba - fried noodles. Yokote Yakisoba. Typically served with an egg on top.

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