The Tokamachi Winter Markets
Chinkoro are small figurines made from rice–flour and painted with food colouring – each one is handmade, and lovingly crafted into the shape of a small animal, often those from the Chinese zodiac. They are sold at the Tokamachi Winter Markets: traditional craft markets held every year on four separate dates in January. Although in the past they were bought to be eaten, today they are sought after as good luck charms and given as gifts to children. While nobody really knows the origin of chinkoro, it is believed that they date back to at least 140 years ago. As time passes they may eventually crack and break, but it is said that these cracks will bring you good fortune.
The winter markets are a great example of Tokamachi’s Snow Country culture. The long winter months where the fields were buried beneath the snow became a great opportunity for farmers to turn their hand to something different, such as crafting goods like baskets and figurines from bamboo and straw. Aside from handicrafts, a variety of food stalls serving hot food and drink are also in operation at the Tokamachi Winter Markets.
|Date||January 10th, 15th, 20th and 25th (9am to 4pm)|
|Place||Suwa-cho Street (10-minute walk from Tokamachi Station)|