Japan is one of the major snowiest country in the world. If you are ski or snowboard lovers, you might heard the word "JAPOW" . (Japan Powder). Japanese in snow area created unique culture such as laws for supporting the heavy snow area, business, and technologies because of a lot of snow.
Here's the top 10 snowiest cities in the world. This information comes from the website in 2017. Surprisingly, 5 of cities are ranked from Japan.
- Chamonix, France
- Niseko, Japan
- Nagano, Japan
- Aomori City, Japan
- Alyeska, Alaska
- Sapporo, Japan
- Toyama, Japan
- Syracuse, United States
- Saguenay, Canada
- Buffalo, United States
But why there are a lot of snow in Japan? It’s because of ocean effects according to The whether channel. Sea of Japan is located on the left of Japan island. Frozen cold wind blows from Siberia in winter and when this frigid air go through the relatively warm Sea of Japan, Huge amount of water evaporates from surface of the sea and forms clouds. Then these clouds helps to form snow. When this clouds encounter and hits the Japanese Alps, it gets a lot of snow.
And what Japanese snow culture makes unique is the fact that 20 million people lives in the heavy snowfall area(1). A lot of people live in the heavy snow area compared to other countries. Heavy snowfall often cause difficulties for local people to live comfortably such as traffic problems and industrial development. So Japanese law stipulates the “heavy snow region / 豪雪地帯 (Gosetsu Chitai)” as an area where the industry is difficult to develop and it may be difficult for local people to live comfortably due to the heavy snow. (1) Half of Japan's land area, where about 20 million people live, is designated as a “heavy snow region” by law. (1) These designated special area gets special support from governments.
Also city office spends a lot of money to deal with snow. for example, The Sapporo City spends 14 billion yen every year for snow every year (1) City office remove snows using operation vehicles. Bus companies, railway companies, and transportation companies make effort to prepare running buses, trains and trucks on the heavy snowy days. Japanese in snow area develop equipment and technology that is resistant to snow and cold so that electricity, gas, and water supply do not stop. Buildings are designed to be strong enough to withstand the heavy snow and cold in snowy countries. These preparation or economy costs more than a region with little snow.
As we see, it gets snow a lot in Japan and Japan is very unique in terms many people live in the heavy snow area and develop unique culture, technology and community for comfortable life.