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New Product! Enjoy Winter's Gourmet Delights with the JR Tohoku-South Hokkaido Rail Pass ✩

In South Hokkaido and Tohoku, there's a lot of delicious food to eat in the winter! While the standard gourmet fare of winter is good, I recommend walking around town and trying the local delicacies. With the JR Tohoku-South Hokkaido Rail Pass, it's possible to go around these regions at a reasonable price. In this edition, I will introduce the places you can visit to savor winter's gourmet delights with this Pass!

Akita Prefecture – New Fireworks Collection 2018

Daisen City of Akita Prefecture is famous for the “Zenkoku Hanabi Kyogi Taikai (National Fireworks Competition),” otherwise known as “Omagari no Hanabi.” The national competition, held in the summer, is one of Japan’s three major fireworks competitions. The fireworks season is greatly anticipated in Daisen City, a city of fireworks, so every year the city puts on a show of new fireworks! This year, the show is “New Fireworks Collection 2018.”
Young firework specialists from across the country painstakingly craft extremely creative small fireworks, present them, and compete.

Geibikei Boat Ride – Kotatsu Boat Service

This service allows passengers to enjoy drifting through the view of Geibikei, designated in 1925 as a scenic spot of natural beauty, from inside of a boat. Called the “Kotatsu Boat,” starting on December 1st this trip takes guests through the valley’s winter beauty, past about 2 kilometers of towering rock cliffs that can reach 100 meters high while the passengers stay warm under the boat’s kotatsu.

Akita Prefecture’s Event with a History of Over 100 Years! Kamihinokinai’s Paper Balloon Festival

This is a winter event representative of Akita Prefecture.
Large candlelit paper balloons, painted with warrior pictures and Ukiyo-e styled women, flutter in the winter night sky like shining stars. A total of around 100 paper balloons are released into the night sky.
The Paper Balloon Festival is a traditional event that has been held for over 100 years.
The origin of the event is said to have its roots in the Edo Period scientist, Hiraga Gennai (17280-1780), who supposedly taught the populace the principles behind hot air balloons.

Strange Festival – Takada Straw Bag Pulling

Every year the Straw Bag Pulling is held on the second Saturday of January in Aizuminato Town of Fukushima Prefecture.
In this festival, a large number of men dressed only in loincloths are split into two teams – red and white – and pull on a giant bale of straw like a game of tug-of-war. The bale is enormous, measuring 3 meters in diameter, 5 meters in height, and it can weigh as much as 3 tons.
Supposedly, when the red team of business officials wins it foretells business prosperity, and when the white team of agriculturalists wins it foretells good harvests.
There are opportunities for regular people to participate as well.

Visit these Snow Resorts with the Economical JR Pass! Also Introducing Enjoyable Travel Plans (The First Part)

Winter has finally arrived! So along with the economical JR Pass, we'd like to introduce some snow resorts where you can enjoy winter sports like skiing and snowboarding! We will also suggest some ways to relax your mind and body while having fun in these locations. The first part of this post features information on recommended spots in the Tohoku area that you can get to from Tokyo on the JR Pass!