Snowball fighters compete in western Japan for 1st time in 5 years

About 150 people battled it out in a snowball fighting championship in western Japan on Sunday, for the first time in five years.

Seventeen teams took part in the event in Tottori Prefecture's Wakasa Town.

The snowball contest had been canceled for the past four winters due to the coronavirus pandemic and snow shortages.

Seven-member teams faced off in three-set matches. Each set lasted three minutes.

In order to win, teams had to remove a flag in the other side's base or hit all of their opponents with snowballs.

Contestants used stationary shields for protection while hurling snowballs toward opponents.

Spectators cheered when one team stormed its opponent's base and took the flag.

A fifth-grade elementary school student described snowball fighting as uplifting and fun. He said his team won, but he wished he had been more aggressive and beat the opponents by removing the flag.

A man in his 20s took part for the first time. He said he and other fellow contestants had moved to Tottori Prefecture to attend local universities. He said he was a poor snowball fighter but he enjoyed the event nevertheless.