This interesting object is traditional winter cold storage in Snow Country. It is a daikon-tsugura, and with the help of deep snow, is used to store radishes over winter.
When everything is buried in snow for half the year vegetables are hard to come by and become a real treat. The residents of Snow Country have always been adept at preserving food to see them through the long winter.
With the rice harvest finished in autumn, the straw is set aside to dry. Once it has dried and many of the other winter preparations have been completed, the daikon-tsugura can be woven. It takes about half a day if you know what you are doing. Recently harvested white radishes are placed inside and as the snow starts to fall in winter it is buried.
The temperature inside is just above freezing and there is also very high humidity; the perfect conditions for storing radishes. With a bit of digging the daikon-tsugura can be reached, radishes removed, and eaten. A rare chance to enjoy fresh vegetables during the snowy months.
Once spring arrives and the mountain vegetables bring greenery back into the diet, the daikon-tsugura is no longer needed. It still serves a purpose though. It is dismantled and spread on the fields to act as a fertilizer, and the whole Snow Country life cycle begins again.
Masses of snow can be a nuisance but the snow is often put to good uses which can be seen all over Snow Country.