Hokkaido Winter Events

The start of February means the start of Winter festival season here in Hokkaido. Here's our quick guide on all the must-visit events!

A trip to Niseko is not all snowy mountains, skiing and snowboarding, and for those visiting in February, the off-snow activities available are plentiful. Big snow statues, beautiful illuminations, huge snow slides and more are available at Hokkaido's three most famous winter festivals. 

Sapporo Snow and Ice Festival

Sapporo Snow Festival11

More than 2.5 million people visit the annual Sapporo Snow Festival, coming from not just Hokkaido or Japan, but all around the world. The main venue, Odori Park, features the most large and impressive snow statues, most of which light up at night. Events such as live music and projection mapping on the sculptures bring the city of Sapporo to life.

Tsudome site - January 31st to February 11th. 
Odori and Susukino sites - February 4th to 11th.

Otaru Snow Light Path

Otaru Snow Light Path 201711

The Snow Light Path is a traditional winter festival in the charming sea-side town of Otaru. Each year, hundreds of lanterns are released to gently float down the narrow canals of the city centre during this week long celebration. There are also light illuminations, handmade snow statues from citizens and volunteers, as well as guided tours available. Grab some of Japan's best sushi while you're there! 

When: February 8th - 16th

Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival

Shikotsu Ice Festival 201713

Some might say the Shikotsu Ice Festival is the 'little brother' of the famous Sapporo ice event, but Shikotsu locals argue that their festival is even better! As one of Japan's northernmost frozen lakes, Lake Shikotsu is one of the clearest in Japan. Head along to see fantastic ice sculptures which are a beautiful blue in the daytime and brightly lit up at night. There are also ice slides, children's skating rinks and fireworks! 

When: January 24th - February 16th 


Find out what else is going on in the local area during 2020 Lunar New Year.