Jaga Matsuri—55 Years Of Summer Celebration

Beautiful weekend weather at Kutchan's Potato Festival.

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A cute little festival goer in a summer yukata posing alongside the town's mascots.

One of Niseko's biggest summer festivals, Jaga Matsuri (Potato Festival) celebrates Kutchan Town's most famous crop—the potato. The festival features a variety of live performances and activities, many of which, such as the potato penalty kick tournament and the all-you-can-grab potato giveaway, tie into the festival's potato theme.

Now in its 55th year, the festival attracts thousands of attendees from across the Niseko area and beyond.

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The station street shuts down five blocks for two days to accommodate the excited festival goers.

The daytime is packed with family-friendly fun, delicious food and more. The main stage comes to life with performances by jazz bands and dance crews. Meanwhile, the streets ring with the sound of traditional taiko drumming as volunteers wearing traditional clothing dance along the road.

In addition to live spectacles and potato-themed games, children have all kinds of fun to look forward to with stations such as the Strider bike course and the Ki Niseko rodeo offering free entertainment throughout the day.

The Hanazono Hill Climb, which first began in 2009, is now a part of the festival line-up. Riders start off with a peloton parade through the festival before starting their climb in the early morning. When the race comes to a close, the award ceremony is held on the festival's main stage.

As the sun sets on the first night, giant nebuta (paper lanterns) are rolled through the streets. They come in all of shapes and sizes, from Kutchan's mascot to courageous warriors.

On the second evening, over 1,000 dancers in yukata slowly dance their way down the station road and then a fireworks display brings the festival to a close.

Kutchan Jaga Matsuri is a great window into the Niseko area's rural lifestyle and is guaranteed to be the best place to get your fill of Kutchan's famous potatoes! If you missed out on it this summer, we'll see you next time.