Clearing snow off arcade cover together

Central Hokkaido’s Iwamizawa City has been hit by record breaking heavy snowfall. On January 14, shops in the downtown shopping area came together to clear off snow piled atop the arcade covering.

The work of clearing snow off of the arcade covering is organized by the Iwamizawa Chamber of Commerce and Industry every winter. At shopping areas spanning Ichijo Dori Street, Nijo Dori Street, Yojo Dori Street, and Chuo Dori Street, shop workers climb up to the arcade cover and clear off snow. The cleared snow is pushed to the roadside with heavy machinery, where it is hauled away in the middle of the night when car traffic is sparse. There are arcades on both sides of the street. The entire process takes two days, with one side cleared at a time.

Snow piled up to 1.5 meters this winter, and on the first day approximately 1,000 people worked up a sweat dumping the snow down with shovels. The warm weather of the previous day meant the snow was densely wet, and a glasses store manager said, “The snow was piled up higher than in most years, so it was dangerous. And it was heavy, making it even harder.”


Shopping areas in Iwamizawa