Sapporo, the city of 1.9 million is the major spot for sightseeing in Hokkaido. Everything from gigantic shopping malls to museums, parks, art museums and restaurants, historical facilities exist for fun sightseeing. The Sapporo Snow Festival which is held every year in February in downtown Sapporo's Odori Park is now known world wide. Between January and February there are other famous and exciting winter events held around Hokkaido such as the Chitose and Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival, the Asahikawa winter Festival, Sounkyo Hyobaku Ice Festival and the Lake Shikaribetsu Kotan Festival.
A heartwarming fantasy of light
December 1st from Christmas, approximately 50,000 lights adorn the 20m-tall fir tree that floats on a platform in the sea. Events are also held on weekends during the period.
Schedule：December 1st - 25th
Lighting time：4:30 pm - 12:00 pm, Friday/Saturday & 22-25 December; until 2:00 am
Around the red brick warehouses in Suehiro-cho, Hakodate, Hokkaido
- 14-12 Suehiro-cho, Hakodate, Hokkaido
- By Tram:Take the tram from Hakodate Station. Get off at the stop "Jujigai". approx 5 minutes on foot.
Monumental snow sculptures
The world-famous Sapporo Snow Festival. The large-scale snow and ice sculptures at the Odori venue, the ice carvings at the Susukino venue, and the Tsudome venue where visitors can play in the snow, are well worth seeing.
Sapporo Snow Festival
- Odori Park, Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido
- Very close to the Odori Station of the Sapporo Municipal Subway.
The countless lights that flicker in the snow become the prayers and wishes of individuals
This event, which is held in mid-February every year, lights up Otaru's nights with a total of 120,000 simple candles. A warm welcome, handmade by local residents and volunteers, which places importance on "the warmth of the people".
Otaru Snow Light Path
- Otaru Canal, Otaru, Hokkaido
- By JR(Railway)：
From New Chitose Airport
72 minutes by Japan Railway from New Chitose Airport Station.Get off at the stop "Otaru"
32 minutes by Japan Railway from Sapporo Station.Get off at the stop "Otaru".
In Ainu, “kotan” means “village” and this is, Shikaribetsu as the name suggests, an activity-based event in which a “village” is made on the lake from the ice and snow only during midwinter. Ice domes made of natural ice shaved from the lake and ice sculptures are artistic and illuminated at night. You can experience an “ice bar”, “open-air bath on the ice” and other experiences specific to the region. You can enjoy nature, surrounded by the nostalgic world of snow and ice created by the cold in Lake Shikaribetsu.
Schedule：Late January - March
Lake Shikaribetsu Kotan
- Lake Shikaribetsu,Shikaoi,Kato-gun,Hokkaido
- By Bus：100minutes by bus from Obihiro Station.Get off at the stop "Lake Shikaribetsu".
Everyone is enthralled by the frozen lake
An event in which a variety of activities can be enjoyed on and around the frozen Lake Akan. Experience cutting natural ice from the lake, build snowmen or an igloo, and play mini-games. Lots of fun activities to satisfy the whole family. The fireworks that are launched every night above the ice are so romantic.
Schedule：Early February - Mid February
Akan Ice Festival
- Akanko-Onsen, Akan, Kushiro, Hokkaido
- By Bus：120 minutes by Akan bus from Kushiro Station.Get off at the stop "Akanko Onsen".
A magical ice festival
An event at which to experience magical beauty created by ice and lights. Approximately 30 large and small ice sculptures, a 13m-high observatory platform and slide, and other impressive sights. In the evenings, the sculptures are lit up with rainbow-colored lights, making the atmosphere even more romantic.
Schedule：Late January - Mid March
Sounkyo Hyoubaku Festival
- Sounkyo Onsen, Kamikawa-cho, Kamikawa-gun, Hokkaido
- In front of the JR Kamikawa Station, get on the Dohoku-bus at the "Kamikawa Mori no Terrace Bus Touch”.After getting off at the “Sounkyo Onsen(hot spring)”, 5 minutes on foot.