It is not only the flowers that indicate spring is coming to Omachi. As the snow melts and the black rock below is exposed, patterns are created in the contrast of rock and snow. It is a sign of spring. The changing patterns in the snow act as planting guides for farmers and the images are the origin of the names of some mountains. They have become familiar to local people over the ages.
You can see these patterns on the Japan Alps above the planted rice fields and blossoming apple orchards while gazing out of the windows of trains on the JR Oito line, or sightseeing in the Omachi area. Please direct your gaze towards the beautiful patterns on the mountainside.
Season: around April thru June
Yukigata (Snow Patterns) Watching
The patterns in the snow can be viewed from the foot of the Japan Alps, but timing is also an important element. We also recommend viewing the snow patterns from the Omachi Mountain Museum, which affords fantastic views of the Japan Alps. The museum has a permanent exhibit on yukigata, and staff are happy to respond to any enquiries about snow patterns.
Examples of Snow Patterns
Typical snow patterns visible from Omachi include; the image of an old man planting rice on Mr. Jigatake, and images of a crane and a lion on Mt. Kashimayari.