What is Japan Heritage?

Each region of Japan has its own cultural assets such as buildings, works of art, traditional events, and ruins that are rooted in the local history and climate. The “Japan Heritage” program is a system under which the national government (Agency for Cultural Affairs) certifies stories that convey the culture and traditions of Japan through cultural properties.

In 2020, the story of Tokamachi City, Niigata Prefecture, “Ultimate Snow Country Tokamachi - The True Story!
A story of a heavy snowfall” was recognized as a Japan Heritage.

What does “ultimate snow country” look like? Tokamachi City is one of the snowiest cities in the world. Living in a region with heavy snowfall brings hardships, but it also brings many blessings - blessings from the snow.
The people of Tokamachi have been living in the snow since ancient times, and have nurtured a rich culture by making the most of these blessings. Tokamachi, the ultimate snow country, has stories of kimonos, food, architecture, festivals, and beauty; stories that cannot be found anywhere else. We call these snow country stories “Snow Rich Stories”.

Sustainability in the Ultimate Snow Country of Tokamachi

The story of Tokamachi City’s recognition as a Japanese Heritage site, “Ultimate Snow Country Tokamachi - The True Story! A story of a heavy snowfall” depicts “life in Tokamachi in harmony with nature life” that has continued since the Jomon Period.

This way of life is a stepping stone to solving today’s social issues. We promotes tourism aimed at understanding the history and culture of “Ultimate Snow Country Tokamachi,” and strives to convey these stories to travelers in an appropriate and attractive manner through multilingual commentary, guides, and the development of experiential content.

In addition, the predecessors of “Ultimate Snow Country Tokamachi” have put the harsh climate of heavy snowfall to use for their industries. The history of textile production built up since ancient times has led to the modern-day kimono industry in Tokamachi City, which has repeatedly pioneered new technology to meet the needs of the times. Tokamachi also has a thriving agricultural industry as represented by the locally produced Uonuma Koshihikari rice. We will tell our story to raise awareness of the attractiveness of the industry and revitalize the local economy.

Furthermore, visitors will experience diverse history and culture when visiting “Ultimate Snow Country Tokamachi,” and the interaction with local people will be an experience of mutual understanding.
We will work to develop a system to ensure that these visits and experiences provide opportunities to contribute to the preservation of cultural assets and the natural environment, and to hand them down to the next generation.

By learning from the lives of our predecessors in Tokamachi City, who struggled with, accepted, made use of, became familiar with, and even found enjoyment in - snow, by learning from them and then by sharing this spirit far and wide, we will work toward the realization of a sustainable local society.

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