Sunday, February 5, 2017

Hokkaido Hounds

Sled dog race warms the spirits of crowd in Hokkaido

The Asahi Shimbun  by HIROYUKI YAMAMOTO/ Staff Writer  February 5, 2017

A Musher drives his team in the sled dog race in Eniwa, Hokkaido, as spectators enjoy the spectacle on Feb. 4.  Hiroyuki Yamamoto

ENIWA, Hokkaido--In a wintertime spectacle, dozens of dogs dashed across an expansive snow-covered field here in a sled dog race on Feb. 4, thrilling spectators to the annual event.

“I was stunned by the speed at which the dogs ran,” said Takeru Sakai, a 7-year-old boy in the crowd who came from Kita-Hiroshima in Hokkaido with three relatives.

In the competition, the sixth Eniwa sled dog race, 93 dogs and 43 “mushers,” or dogsled drivers, vied with each other in speed trials. The longest distance in the race was 7 kilometers.

The temperature on the day, the first day of spring under the lunar calendar, was an unseasonably balmy 1.3 degrees, comparable to the mercury in early March.

Sled dogs led by a driver dash through a snow-covered field in the sled dog race on Feb. 4.  Hiroyuki Yamamoto

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