Each autumn the urban and suburban landscape of central and northern Japan sprouts strange new 'sculptures' Yuki-gakoi and Yuki-tsuri.
To the uninitiated, it is as if some courtesy wrapping service at a department store has gone crazy and broken out into a cross between landscape wrapping and art, with a sculptured theme.
In the garden of Senjukaku Ryokan, Kambayashi Onsen, straw capes (Yuki-gakoi) protect and decorate the garden lamps.
To understand the significance of this seasonal wrapping frenzy (no it's not related to Christmas or year end gifts) you need to understand the extremes of the Japanese climate. Particularly in the central regions of Honshu, the Sea of Japan coast, northern Honshu and Hokkaido, the annual range in temperatures is dramatic and these regions trade hot, humid summers for cool, cold, or even frigid winters with varying amounts of snowfall.