Inukko Festival (いぬっこまつり) in Yuzawa was on my bucket list for a long time, and this year, I was able to go! It was an absolute blast, and absolutely devastating to my wallet because there was so much amazing Akita Inu stuff to buy.
I was told that the legend of the dog festival was that Yuzawa was attacked by bandits a long time ago. The head of the village built Akita dog sculptures out of rice flour to scare off the bandits, and it became a tradition for the homes of Yuzawa to build these sculptures. Eventually, it turned into snow dogs, instead of rice flour ones.
Now a days, the first weekend in February, Yuzawa builds giant Akita dogs out of snow (and a lot of ice). Yuzawa is a bit of a haul from me, so I didn't get a chance to go last year, but this year I did! I started to become almost uncontrollably excited when we exited off of the toll way and I saw my first snow dog.
There are the usual festival food stalls, along with toy and game stalls for children at the festival grounds. But there is also a tent that had a large amount of stalls to purchase many different Akita dog goods.
I bought a super cute little statue set from a lovely elderly couple who assured me that buying it would mean I wouldn't get a cold for at least two years!
There were a fair amount of Akita dogs there with their owners taking extremely cute pictures of them. I was infatuated with one named Gin (sliver in Japanese), because he was just a happy jolly boy. There was an old boy, who, in all his fluffy glory, gave me a plenty of kisses and affection.
I got to climb on one of the dogs (in all honesty, it was quite the challenge to do so!), and the sheer excitement I felt sitting on a giant dog made out of snow out weighed the uncomfortable splits I found myself in.
The snow started to fall slowly while we were there, making it magical and amazing.
In addition to the shrines of Akita dogs, there are fireworks later at night.
If you are planning on going, there have a shuttle bus from the Aeon shopping area that has much more accessible parking lot.
If you are half as obsessed with Akita dogs as I am, it's most definitely a place to check out!
Love always, Laura Ann