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Muko nage” and “Sumi nuri,” a strange festival, wish for good health and prosperity of descendants! (Tokamachi City, Niigata Prefecture)



The “Muko nage,” a small New Year’s event handed down in Matsunoyama Onsen, Tokamachi City, Niigata Prefecture, in which newlyweds are thrown onto a snowy slope to celebrate their marriage, was held on January 15 (Monday).

Muko nage is a small New Year’s event that has been handed down in Matsunoyama since the Edo period (1603-1868). It is said to have originated when a woman from a local village and a man from another community threw a muko onto the snow to express their marriage.

Left: Mr. and Mrs. Okada / Right: Mr. and Mrs. Sato

This year’s stars were two couples selected from the general public.

Fumiaki  and Yumi Okada, who live in Tokyo, volunteered to play the lead roles because Fumiaki’s mother is from Matsunoyama and she wanted her parents to watch her dance in the air.

Takanori and Shiori Sato, who live in Chiba Prefecture, applied because Takanori’s parents are from Matsunoyama and he has wanted to participate in this historic festival since he was a child.

Although there were concerns about a little snow this year, the conditions were perfect with more than 40 cm of fresh snow that fell the night before in front of the Yakushido, the festival site.

Mr. Okada.


Mr. Sato.


Fumiaki Okada
The snow in Matsunoyama is soft and fluffy. I will remember today’s experience and get along well with them when I have a difficult time in my future married life.

Yumi Okada
I’m glad you made it down safely. We will continue to do our best hand in hand.

Takanori Sato
I was able to fly away without worrying about my family and friends coming to the wedding. I couldn’t invite my cousins and aunts and uncles to the wedding, so it was nice to celebrate this milestone together.”

Shiori Sato
I was anxious watching from below in this heavy snowfall, but I was happy to see them fly away with nice smiles on their faces. I am grateful to have been warmly welcomed by so many people. It was a good start to my new life.

After the Mukonage, here is another strange festival, Sumi-nuri.

Okada-san and Sato-san set fire to the Dondoyaki Yagura, and everyone in the hall mixed the ashes from the fire with snow and inked each other’s faces, wishing each other good health.
  Matsunoyama Onsen Hot Springs Association Chairman Yuichi Yamagishi, Association Chairman
I thought there might not be enough snow until yesterday, and I was praying for it to fall, but it fell quite a bit this morning, which was a relief. It’s been a while since the corona dawned and we were able to do without masks, so it’s good to see the festival back to how it used to be.”

Matsunoyama Onsen Yakushido

Access: <Car> 60 minutes by car from the Shiozawa/Ishiuchi IC on the Kanetsu Expressway, 25 minutes by bus from Matsudai Station on the Hokuhoku Line

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