Blanketed by a meter of snow on a weekly basis NE Japan is far from the popular visions of the rapid and tech based society in Tokyo. Ancient traditions are a daily ritual and on special days village festivals transform quaint towns and temples to mysterious and magical visions of another world. And the nether world is exactly what they are… fascinating cultures stemming from the Shinto and Zen Buddhist beliefs have become a mainstay in the mountains and bamboo forests of Tohoku. For the devout it is nothing less than directly speaking with the ancestral families. Masks, robes, headdress and amulets have all stood the test of time, protected by the spirits that they intend to communicate with. Locked away in “god boxes” until the time is deemed appropriate by lunar calendars the temples remain solemn and in solitude tucked away in the steep snowy peaks. Once awakened the deceased, the ghosts, the spirits of the mountains and rivers, blessing are made with rice wine and moment by moment impressions are branded in from one world to another shaping the cultural landscape of the land of the rising sun.