Winter 2016


Kids’ Korner: Winter Wonderland

What does a snowman look like?

Does your snowman look more like the one on the left or the one on the right?


Creative Commons Images 1 2

The one on the left is a Japanese “yukidaruma,” and the one on the right is an American snowman. What differences do you see?

You probably noticed that the Japanese snowman is made with only two balls of snow and the American snowman is made out of three. Did you also see how the American snowman has arms, and the Japanese one does not? That is because the Japanese snowman was originally modeled after the popular daruma doll, which is where it gets its name.

Daruma Doll

A Daruma Doll.

Kamakura Festival

Kamakura Festival in Kawasaki, Japan.

Photo courtesy of Michinoku Lakewood N.G.P./ JNTO.

Another pastime enjoyed in both countries is making igloos. In Japan, there is a kind of igloo called the kamakura. These snow huts have a long history and are different from the Native American igloo in a few ways. One is that the igloo has a long entranceway and the kamakura snow hut has a large hole in the side of it that serves as the entrance. Another is that igloos are generally made out of blocks of ice and kamakura are made from packed snow. However, both provide a warm and cozy space inside.

Sapporo Snow Festival

Sapporo Snow Festival, 2013.

Photo courtesy of Yasufumi Nishi/JNTO.

There are many other winter activities that are popular with people in both countries as well. For example “yukigassen,” or snowball fights, sledding, and skiing. Winter festivals are also popular. A few famous examples from Japan include the Sapporo Snow Festival where sculptors create beautiful statues and buildings out of snow and ice and the Yokote Kamakura festival where most of the kamakura are built by local children.

So, what are you going to do this winter?

Banner Photo: A young girl in the snow.

Photo in the Public Domain.

Japan Info is a publication of the Consulate General of Japan in New York. However, the opinions and materials contained herein do not necessarily represent the views or policies of the Government of Japan.

299 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10171

TEL: (212) 371-8222