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To see the mountain


As snow melts, on the face of the mountain appears the image of ‘Shirokaki Uma’ or plow horse, an old man sowing seeds, a Buddhist priest in a stole, or a butterfly spreading its wings.

Nagano is surrounded by complex landforms, here and there snow remains on the mountain surface. The mix of snow and face of rocks appearing creates ‘Yukigata’, shapes of lingering snow on a mountainside, which locals have enjoyed comparing these shapes to human figures or animals.

Predecessors have used the appearance of shapes on mountains as a calendar, signalling the start of harvest and sowing fields. The ‘Yukigata’ has long been a seasonal feature in people’s lives, over the years becoming names of mountains, such as the image of a plow horse becoming Hakuba or a butterfly spreading its wings called Chogatake.

Each in their own way, one ponders at the ‘Yukigata’ awaiting for the new season to come. When its shape is clearly visible, the long winter comes to an end, and spring is coming. Similar to the mountain surface, the knitwear created holds various faces. In its charm, what scenery does one see?

Photography: Daisuke Nakashima / Words & Edit: kontakt / Translation: Shimon Miyamoto