How to Enjoy the Tsunan Snow Festival

At the Tsunan Snow Festival, thousands of brightly lit lanterns take flight in the night sky. It’s a truly unique sight that you can only see at the Tsunan Snow Festival.

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When is the Tsunan Snow Festival?

The Tsunan Snow Festival will be held on the following dates.

Event Date Time
March 10, 2023(Eve)
15:00 - 20:00
This event is only available to ticket purchasers. Please purchase a ticket even if you just want to watch the performance.
March 11, 2023(Main)
11:00 - 20:30
No ticket is required for viewing only. However, a pre-purchased ticket is required for the sky lantern launch.

What is the Tsunan Snow Festival?

Tsunan Town, located at the southernmost tip of Niigata Prefecture on the border with Nagano Prefecture, experiences one of the heaviest snowfalls in all of Japan. The locals of Tsunan Town have turned this heavy snowfall into a fun event that warms the body and soul.

The Tsunan Snow Festival is an event that was founded to reinvigorate the spirit of the people despite the cold weather. It has adapted and grown ever since its inception into what it is today — come and see how it has evolved over time!

Fun Things to do

① Sky lantern launch

The lanterns that are launched at festivals in Thailand and China are a type of hot air balloon that are said to have originated 770 years ago and were used as a means of communication back then.

The sky lanterns were first launched at the Tsunan Snow Festival on February 15, 2012. The number of lanterns launched during the festival has grown every year, and during the more recent festivals, over 2000 total lanterns have been launched by the various visitors. The lanterns represent the thoughts, prayers, and wishes of the people who launch them.

To Participate in the Sky Lantern Launch

If you are coming to visit the Tsunan Snow Festival, you’re probably going to want to participate in the launch of the Sky Lanterns — make sure you get your Lantern Redemption Ticket in advance so you can get your hands on a lantern!

Anyone in grade school or older may participate in the Sky Lantern launch.

How to Launch the Sky Lanterns

In principle, there should be three people per launching of one sky lantern. If you don’t have enough people with which to launch the balloon, ask those nearby to give you a hand — it is not easy! It’s possible with two people, but best with three.

② Snow Activities


The SNOW WAVE is the largest snowboard straight jump competition in Japan! Fierce battles take place between contestants on a special jumping platform.

Watch professional snowboarders perform crazy stunts right in front of your eyes!

Snow Bicycle Experience

You can also ride a ‘snow bicycle’, a bicycle with special thick tires that are designed to ride through the snow. Children are allowed to ride too, so it’s a great activity to families to enjoy together.

Giant Snow Shelter

It’s a giant snow shelter that the locals have spent many days building. Despite the freezing temperatures, its cozy and warm inside!

There are also some shelters that are shaped like shrines of worship, too.

Snow Lantern Gate

The entryway approaching the shrine, which is lined with lanterns made of snow, is very beautiful and quite serene.

③Food Stalls

There are many local food stalls littering the event site. Make sure to stop by and enjoy some local flavor.

See below for stall opening hours

Things to Know Before Going

①About Admission fee/ticket

There is no admission fee, but pre-purchased tickets are required to exchange sky lanterns. Tickets can be purchased from here.

In addition, parking also costs a fee but the Sky Lantern ticket includes a parking ticket for the parking lot. When purchasing a ticket, be careful to purchase a ticket that includes a parking pass for the parking you intend to park — there are various parking lots for the event.

②Official Website

You can access the official website here, but please be warned that it is not an english friendly website!

How to Get There

There are two venues, “New Greenpia Tsunan Venue” and “Owarino Special Venue”.

  • New Greenpia Tsunan site — March 10th and 11th
  • Owarino special venue — March 11

You can go to the New Greenpia Tsunan site by shuttle bus from Tsunan Station or in front of the Tsunan town office. Please check the Google Map below for the location of the New Greenpia Tsunan venue.

You can go to Owarino special venue by public transportation or on foot. Please check the Google Map below for the location of the Owarino special venue.

Thanks for Reading!

As always, thanks for taking the time to read our article. It’s because of readers such as yourself that we are able to continue to do what we do. We hope the information here helps you plan your Japan adventure!

Various other events will be held in March. Get informations about new and different events below and make your trip more fulfilling.

Over 12,000
Event Attendees
Nakauonuma-gun, Niigata
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