Visitors are flocking to the city of Sapporo on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido to see snow and ice sculptures as the annual snow festival kicks off.
The festival, which marks its 70th anniversary this year, is being held in three locations across the city. At its main Odori Park site, the event opened with a trumpet fanfare.
People in Ibaraki Prefecture, north of Tokyo, have enjoyed a unique New Year's festival in which they parade portable shrines in the sea.
About 150 people gathered in the city of Takahagi to carry the 2 shrines, or "mikoshi" in Japanese, on their shoulders. One weighs about 150 kilograms and the other 300 kilograms.
A festival of animated films from Japan has opened in the US city of Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Anime Film Festival is sponsored in part by the Japan External Trade Organization. The organizers say the annual event, launched last year, is North America's biggest film festival featuring Japanese animations.