One of the iconic scenes of late winter in Minamiuonuma is the bleaching of ramie textiles on the snow. In late February and March, the days become sunny, while at least a meter of snow still remains on the ground. The washed textiles are laid out on the snowy rice paddies for several days at a time (taken in each night). The combination of the bright sunshine above and the melting snow below creates a natural reaction that bleaches or brightens the textiles while softening and integrating the woven fibers.
Not all the bleaching bolts of cloth are new. Stained, tired, decades-old Echigo jōfu kimonos can be revitalized through a process called satogaeri (return to the home village), in which they are sent back to the snow country, dismantled, basted back into twelve-meter lengths of cloth, and snow bleached.