Winter is certainly no time to hibernate here in Hokkaido, as a series of winter festivals spring to life. 

Sapporo Snow Festival

Sapporo Snow Festival Night

Sapporo lights up for the annual Snow Festival. 

Each year, the citizens of Sapporo and invitees from around the world develop enormous snow sculptures and display them in the city centre. The festival takes place in three locations in Sapporo and is the city’s most famous tourist drawcard. A must visit. 

Dates: 31 January - 11 February 

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Otaru Snow Light Path

Otaru Snow Light Path 201711

Candles adorn the banks of the Otaru Canal during their annual Snow Light Festival. 

For nine days in February, the already beautiful Otaru Canal will play host to countless candles in glass floats, gently drifting down the river. Also expect to see ice sculptures, light displays and monuments at the peaceful and romantic Snow Light Festival.

Dates: 8 – 17 February 2019

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Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival

Shikotsu Ice Festival 201713

Ice sculpture and light display combine at the Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival. 

For a more intimate Japanese festival experience, the Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival is hard to beat. For a month each year, the locals use the water from the lake to create spectacular ice sculptures of all shapes and sizes. The festival also features water illuminations, an ice-slide and fireworks.

Dates: 25 January – 17 February 2019 

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