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Winter Festivals Are Held All over Hokkaido

April 20th, 2016

Snow Festivals in Hokkaido

Snow often begins to fall around Christmas season, and Hokkaido is covered with the snow until late March that snow begins to melt, the ground turns into the white world in a winter. The snow falls in silence, and the temperature falls, too, and its peak is February, and various winter events that snow, ice and coldness can be enjoyed are held all over Hokkaido around the February.

Hokkaido in Winter
Kiroro Snow World in Akaigawa

Sapporo Snow Festival (札幌雪まつり) is famous as the largest winter festival in the Hokkaido, and 2 million people from all over the world visit the event. It is said that the worldwide winter event is one of 3 major snow festivals in the world together with Québec Winter Carnival in Canada and Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in China. After the Sapporo Snow Festival, Asahikawa Winter Festival (旭川冬まつり) is the second largest winter festival in the Hokkaido, and about 1 million tourists come to see the event.

Sapporo Snow Festival
Sapporo Snow Festival
Asahikawa Winter Festival
Asahikawa Winter Festival

Except the large winter festivals, various winter events using snow or ice are held all over the Hokkaido. Famous winter events using snow sculptures are Abashiri Okhotsk Ryuhyo Festival (あばしりオホーツク流氷まつり), Nayoro Winter Festival (なよろ雪質日本一フェスティバル), Iwamizawa Heavy Snow Festival (岩見沢ドカ雪まつり) and Kitami Winter Festival (北見冬まつり). Famous winter events using ice sculptures are Sounkyo Ice Waterfall Festival (層雲峡氷瀑まつり), Chitose Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival (支笏湖氷濤まつり), Shikaribetsu Kotan (然別湖コタン) and Monbetsu Ryuhyo Festival (もんべつ流氷まつり).

Sounkyo Ice Waterfall Festival
上川 層雲峡氷瀑まつり
Photo credit: Courtesy of Makan Angin
Chitose Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival
支笏湖氷濤まつり

Illumination events or winter events that coldness can be enjoyed are held as well as the winter festivals in the Hokkaido, too. Except famous illumination events, Little-known illumination events are held, too. I was surprisingly moved by those. My visited those in Sapporo are as follows.

Sapporo Factory Christmas
北海道の冬まつり

Movie of Sapporo Factory Christmas

Miyanomori Frances Illumination
北海道の冬まつり

Movie of Miyanomori Frances Illumination

Hokkaido University of Science Illumination
北海道の冬まつり
Blue Cave Illumination in Front of Former Hokkaido Government Office
北海道の冬まつり

Movie of Blue Cave Illumination in Front of Former Hokkaido Government Office

Sapporo Beer Garden Illumination
北海道の冬まつり

Movie of Sapporo Beer Garden Illumination

Movie of 150 th Anniversary of Hokkaido Projection Mapping

List of Winter Festivals

My visited the winter festivals are Sapporo Snow Festival, Asahikawa Winter Festival, Sounkyo Ice Waterfall Festival, Chitose Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival, Otofuke Tokachi Swan Festival Sairinka, Nayoro Winter Festival, Abashiri Okhotsk Ryuhyo Festival, Monbetsu Ryuhyo Festival, Lake Shikaribetsu Kotan and Iwamizawa Heavy Snow Festival. I want to visit other snow events, too.

Sapporo Snow Festival

Sapporo Snow Festival (札幌雪まつり) is a snow event held in Sapporo city, and has been held since 1950, and the biggest snow festival event in Hokkaido, and one of 3 major snow festivals in the world together with Québec Winter Carnival in Canada and Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in China. Open period is only about one week in early February, and more than 2 million people visit here during the time. In the daytime, snow sculptures look only white, but those turn into colourful themselves according to illumination or projection mapping in the evening, and more and more tourists gather. Concerts and jumping performance of snowboarding are held, too, and the tourists get excited. By the way, the Sapporo is very cold in the February, so you had better wear a warm outfit. Especially, you had better wear a warm outfit carefully in the evening. Article is here

Snow Sculpture Is Lit up
Sapporo Snow Festival

Asahikawa Winter Festival

Asahikawa Winter Festival is a snow event held in Asahikawa city, and has been held since 1960. The snow event that about 1 million tourists come to see is one of the 2 major winter festivals in Hokkaido together with Sapporo Snow Festival. Open period is from 4 to 6 days in early February. Asahikawa Winter Festival has 2 venues, Asahibashi Bridge Venue (旭橋河畔会場) and Heiwadori Shopping Park Venue (平和通買物公園会場), and those are different from those atmospheres. As for the Asahibashi Bridge Venue adjacent to Tokiwa Park (常磐公園), it features a gigantic snow sculpture, and World Ice Sculpture Contest (氷彫刻世界大会) is held at the Heiwadori Shopping Park Venue, and fine ice sculptur works are displayed. In the daytime, snow sculptures look only white, but those turn into colourful themselves according to illumination or projection mapping in the evening. By the way, the Asahikawa is too cold in the February, so you had better wear a warm outfit. Especially, you had better wear a warm outfit carefully in the evening. Article is here

Opening Show
Asahikawa Snow Festival

Sounkyo Ice Waterfall Festival

Sounkyo Ice Waterfall Festival (層雲峡氷瀑まつり) is a snow event held in Sounkyo Onsen, Kamikawa Town located in the eastern part of Asahikawa city, and has been held since 1976. It is held from late January to late March every year, and is well-known as a specialty winter event. Ice sculptures, a resting place, a food stall, a public restroom, North Ice Pub (北の氷酒場) and Hyoto Shrine (氷瀑神社) are in a venue. The venue is from 10 to 20 degrees below zero, and it is very cold, so you had better wear a warm outfit. Admission free. But a assistance fund is JPY 300. A parking lot are free of charge, and visitors can park their cars at the Sounkyo Onsen Public Parking Lot. Article is here

Look of Venue
Kamikawa Sounkyo Ice Waterfall Festival

Chitose Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival

Chitose Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival (支笏湖氷濤まつり) is a snow event held around Lake Shikotsu in the south part of Sapporo city, and the venue is Shikotsuko Onsen (支笏湖温泉) in the east part of the lake. The festival has been held from late January to mid February since 1976, and about 260,000 tourists come, and it can be said that the festival is a specialty event in the Lake Shikotsu. The venue is near Yamasen Iron Bridge (山線鉄橋). There are ice sculptures, an ice slide, Hyoto Shrine (氷濤神社), a resting place, a food stall, a public restroom at the site. It is very cold, so you had better wear a warm outfit. Admission free. But they collect a assistance fund. As for a parking lot, the parking lot at the Shikotsuko Onsen is open to visitors for free. Article is here

Chitose Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival in Evening
Chitose Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival in Chitose

Otofuke Tokachi Swan Festival Sairinka

Otofuke Tokachigawa Swan Festival Sairinka (十勝川白鳥まつり彩凛華) is a winter event in Otofuke town located in the northeastern part of Obihiro city, and has been held since 1992, and was named after more than 1000 swans coming flying to Tokachigawa Onsen (十勝川温泉). About 60,000 tourists come to see the event. Open period is from mid January to late February, and it opens from 19:00 to 21:00 everyday. The event might be cancelled due to bad weather, so you should check it in advance. The venue is Tokachigaoka Park (十勝が丘公園). Admission free. A parking lot is free of charge. Article is here

Otofuke Tokachigawa Swan Festival Sairinka
Otofuke Tokachigawa Swan Festival Sairinka

Nayoro Winter Festival

Nayoro Winter Festival (なよろ雪質日本一フェスティバル * The formal name is Nayoro Best Quality Snow in Japan Festival) is a snow event held in Nayoro city located between Asahikawa city and Wakkanai city, and has been held since 1952. Open period is 3 days in mid February, and about 20,000 tourists come to see. The Best Quality Snow in Japan is related to the climate of the Nayoro, and it is dry in a winter, and the temperature is from -5 to -25 degrees Celsius. The snow that is more superfine than Powder Snow turns into Silky Snow depending on that environment, and the Nayoro city appeals the excellence of the snow quality. The venue is Minami-hiroba Open Space (南広場) near Saijo Depart (西条デパート) and Komyo Kindergarten (光名幼稚園). Admission free. A parking lot for the tourists is not provided at the venue. But some parking lots for the tourists are provided in the downtown. Article is here

International Snow Sculpting Competition
Nayoro Winter Festival

Abashiri Okhotsk Ryuhyo Festival

Abashiri Okhotsk Ryuhyo Festival (あばしりオホーツク流氷まつり * The Ryuhyo means "Drift Ice" in Japanese) is a winter event held in Abashiri city located in the northeastern part of Kitami city, and has started since 1966. The festival is held at Abashiri Port Event Site (網走商港埠頭特設会場) during 3-4 days in mid February, and about 55,000 tourists come. It takes about 10 minutes on foot from Roadside Station "Ryuhyo kaido Abashiri (流氷街道網走)" to there. There are ice sculptures, snow sculptures, ice slides, food stalls, a public restroom at the site, and some events such as concerts are held, too. It is very cold, so you had better wear a warm outfit. Admission free. A parking lot is free of charge. By the way, the roadside staion is a ferry terminal of Icebreaking Ship Aurora2 (流氷砕氷船オーロラ2), so it is crowded with tourists in a winter. A lot of sightseeing buses park at a parking lot. Article is here

Abashiri Okhotsk Ryuhyo Festival
Abashiri Okhotsk Ryuhyo Festival

Monbetsu Ryuhyo Festival

Monbetsu Ryuhyo Festival (もんべつ流氷まつり * The Ryuhyo means "Drift Ice" in Japanese) is a winter event held in Monbetsu city located in the eastern part of Asahikawa city, and has started since 1963. The festival is held at the side of Kaiyo-Koryukan (海洋交流館) during 3-4 days in mid February, and about 60,000 tourists come. There are ice sculptures, ice slides, food stalls, a public restroom at the site, and some events such as concerts are held, too. It is very cold, so you had better wear a warm outfit. Admission free. A parking lot is free of charge. Article is here

Monbetsu Ryuhyo Festival
Monbetsu Ryuhyo Festival

Lake Shikaribetsu Kotan

Lake Shikaribetsu Kotan (然別コタン) is a winter event in Shikaoi town located in the north part of Obihiro city, and has been held on Lake Shikaribetsu near the hot spring resort from late January to late March since 1980, and about 40,000 tourists come to enjoy winter cold. Buildings called igloo made of snow and ice by Inuit people are built on 80-100 cm-thick lake ice, and Kotan (コタン * a village of the Ainu people) is formed. Making period is about 1 month. Because the village shows up on the frozen lake only in a winter, it is called the phantom village. Indeed, if snow and ice melt, nothing remains. Admission free. A parking lot is free of charge. By the way, this event is sometimes closed depending on bad weather. Article is here

Ice Chapel
Shikaribetsuko Kotan Festival in Shikaoi

Iwamizawa Heavy Snow Festival

Iwamizawa Heavy Snow Festival is a snow event in late Febuary. Iwamizawa city is famous for heavy snow, so the event was named after it, and is held beside Iwamizawa Station. Small and large 6 snow sculptures with ice slides are built. Because the venue is not large, such a characteristic might appear. In addition, there is a strange race track like a course of the sled. Except the snow sculptures, a lot of food stalls line, and tourists can eat pheasant dishes, Iwamizawa local specialty dish, too. I did not know that the pheasant dish was the Iwamizawa local specialty dish only after I came here. There are few the snow sculptures, but some events such as the ningen bamba race event seems to be carried out.

広告

Main Snow Sculpture and Stage
Iwamizawa Heavy Snow Festival

Atmosphere of Iwamizawa Heavy Snow Festival Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Iwamizawa Heavy Snow Festival

Admission fee Free of charge
Parking lot Paid parking lot is provided
Business hour 10:00-19:00 * It changes depending on days.
Regular closing day From late February to early February
Telephone number +81-126-22-3470
Home page Home page is here

List of Other Winter Events in Hokkaido

Except famous snow or ice festivals, other illumination events, winter events using ice candles, the winter events that coldness can be enjoyed and sled dog racings are held in various places of the Hokkaido. My visited other winter events are Jozankei Yukitoro (定山渓雪灯路), Eniwa Sled Dog Racing (恵庭犬ぞり大会), German Christmas Market (ミュンヘンクリスマス市), Sapporo White Illumination (ホワイトイルミネーション) and Otaru Snow Light Path (小樽雪あかりの路). In addition, As far as I searched the winter events in the Hokkaido, those are as follows.

Jozankei Yukitoro

Jozankei Yukitoro (定山渓雪灯路) is a winter event held in Jozankei Onsen (定山渓温泉), Sapporo city, and has been held since 2011, and about 6,000 tourists come to see the event. Open period is 5 dys from late January to early February, and it opens from 18:00 to 21:00 everyday. A fire dance is shown by Kuon, a famous fire dance team, at 20 o'clock. The venue is the ground of the Jozankei Shinto Shrine (定山渓神社) established in 1905. Admission free. A parking lot is free of charge, too. A free shuttle bus runs between the Jozankei Onsen and the Jozankei Shinto Shrine while the event is opening. It takes about 10 minutes between the Jozankei Onsen and the Jozankei Shinto Shrine on foot. Article is this

Jozankei Yukitoro
Jozankei Yukitoro in Sapporo

Eniwa Sled Dog Racing

Eniwa Sled Dog Racing (恵庭犬ぞり大会) is a winter event in Ecorinvillage (えこりん村), Eniwa city close to New Chitose Airport and Sapporo city, and has been held since 2011, and is one of 3 major sled dog racings in Hokkaido. In the Hokkaido, the sled dog racings used to be held in various places, and has taken a hold in International Sled Dog Racing Cup in Wakkanai, Domestic Sled Dog Racing in Asahikawa and the Eniwa. Open period is Saturday and Sunday in early February. A restraunts opens a business at the site, so visitors enjoy dishes. Admission free. A parking lot is free of charge. By the way, a free shuttle bus runs between the Ecorinvillage and Eniwa Station. Article is here

Eniwa Sled Dog Racing
Sled Dog Racing in Eniwa

German Christmas Market and Sapporo White Illumination

German Christmas Market (ミュンヘンクリスマス市) and Sapporo White Illumination (ホワイトイルミネーション) are held from late November to late December. Those are different events, but tourists can enjoy two events at the same time because those are held at about the same time. The Sapporo White Illumination are in particular popular and tourists can look at a beautiful night scenery. Crystal River and Spark Fountain are great. Article is here

German Christmas Market
Odori Park in Sapporo
Spark Fountain
Odori Park in Sapporo

Otaru Snow Light Path

The Otaru Snow Light Path is held during about 10 days in mid February. About 500,000 tourists come the event, and large and small venues are built in various places of the Otaru, and the Otaru Canal is one of the main venues. Fences and gaslamps are decorated by the illumination, and blue LEDs in the dark are beautiful. In addition, Champagne Tower that turns into 7 colors and Glass Float Tree are built aroud Canal Plaza Tourist Information (観光運河プラザ案内所) are built, and are worth seeing. Admission free. Article is here

Winter Night View of Otaru Canal
Otaru Canal

List of Winter Events in Hokkaido

Otaru and Yoichi Snow Stories(小樽・余市ゆき物語) Open period is from November to mid February. Venues are Otaru and Yoichi.
Toyako Onsen Illumination(洞爺湖温泉イルミネーション) Open period is from November to early March. A venue is Toya.
Munich Christmas Market(ミュンヘン・クリスマス市) Open period is from late November to late December. A venue is Sapporo.
Sapporo White Illumination(さっぽろホワイトイルミネーション) Open period is from late November to late December. A venue is Sapporo.
Reindeer White Festa(トナカイホワイトフェスタ) Open period is 1 day in mid December. A venue is Horonobe.
Hakodate Christmas Fantasy(はこだてクリスマスファンタジー) Open period is from 1 December to 25 December. A venue is Hakodate.
Hakodate Illumination(はこだてイルミネーション) Open period is from December to February. A venue is Hakodate.
Asahikawa Illumination(あさひかわ街あかりイルミネーション) Open period is from December to early March. A venue is Asahikawa.
Onneyu Onsenkyo Snow Story(おんねゆ温泉郷雪物語) Open period is from December to mid March. A venue is Kitami.
Goryo Hoshi no Yume(五稜星の夢) Open period is from December to late February. A venue is Hakodate.
Shintoku Illumination(いらっしゃいしんとくイルミネーション) Open period is from mid December to February. A venue is Shintoku.
Hoshino Resort Tomamu Ice Village(星野リゾート トマム アイスヴィレッジ) Open period is from mid December to mid March. A venue is Shimukappu.
Hokkaido Gishi-sai Festival(北海道義士祭) Open day is 14 December. A venue is Sunagawa.
Furano Kan Kan Mura(ふらの歓寒村) Open period is from late December to early March. A venue is Furano.
Kitano Daimonji Festival(北の大文字) Open day is btween 31 December and 1 January. A venue is Kamifurano.
New Year's Ryusei Mikoshi Parade(新年豊穣祈願 隆盛みこし) Open day is btween 31 December and 1 January. A venue is Niikappu.
First Sunrise of a New Year in Top(初日の出inてっぺん) Open day is 1 January. A venue is Wakkanai.
Yukizanmai(雪三舞) Open period is 4 days in mid January. A venue is Sapporo.
Higashikawa Ice Festival(東川氷まつり) Open period is 2 days in late January. A venue is Higashikawa.
Atsuma International 3 Ropes Tugs of War on Snow Competition(あつま国際雪上3本引き大会) Open period is 1 day in late January. A venue is Atsuma.
Winter Festival on Northern Latitude of 45 degrees(北緯45度しばれまつり) Open period is 1 day in late January. A venue is Nakatonbetsu.
Shintostukawa Snow Festival(しんとつかわ雪まつり) Open period is 1 day in late January. A venue is Shintotsukawa.
Sounkyho Onsen Ice Fall festival(層雲峡温泉氷瀑まつり) Open period is from late January to mid March. A venue is Kamikawa.
Chitose Shikotsuko Ice Festival(千歳・支笏湖氷濤まつり) Open period is from late January to mid February. A venue is Chitose.
Shikaribetsuko Kotan Festival(しかりべつ湖コタン) Open period is from late January to late March. A venue is Shikaoi.
Otofuke Tokachigawa Swan Festival Sairinka(おとふけ十勝川白鳥まつり 彩凛華) Open period is from late January to late February. A venue is Otofuke.
Jozankei Onsen Yukitoro(定山渓温泉 雪灯路) Open period is from late January to early February. A venue is Sapporo.
Shiretoko Drift Ice Festival(知床流氷フェス) Open period is from late January to late February. A venue is Shari.
Ryuhyo Iceland Republic(流氷あいすらんど共和国) Open period is from late January to late February. A venue is Monbetsu.
Diamond Dust in KAWAYU(ダイヤモンドダスト in KAWAYU) Open period is from early February to late February. A venue is Teshikaga.
Lake Akan Ice Aisu (Love) Akan “Fuyu Hanabi”(阿寒湖氷上フェスティバルICE・愛す・阿寒 冬華美) Open period is from February to early March. A venue is Lake Akan.
Naie Winter Festival(ないえ冬まつり) Open period is 1 day in early February. A venue is Naie.
Tsubetsu Ice Candle Festival(つべつアイスキャンドル点灯まつり) Open period is 1 day in early February. A venue is Tsubetsu.
Yoshitsune Yukiakari(義経雪あかり) Open period is 1 day in early February. A venue is Biratori.
HP
Lantern Festival(ランタン祭り) Open period is 1 day in early February. A venue is Atsuma.
Wood Candle Night(ウッドキャンドルナイト) Open period is 1 day in early February. A venue is Ashoro.
Winter de Light(ウインターデ・ライト) Open period is 1 day in early February. A venue is Shinhidaka.
Kita-no-Tenmonji-yaki(北の天文字焼き) Open period is 1 day in early February. A venue is Nayoro.
Furano Ski Festival(ふらのスキー祭り) Open period is 2 days in early February. A venue is Furano.
Rikubetsu Shibare Festival(陸別しばれフェスティバル) Open period is 2 days in early February. A venue is Rikubetsu.
Kushiro Winter Festival(くしろ冬まつり) Open period is 2 days in early February. A venue is Kushiro.
Winter Esashi Pot Festival(冬江差“美味百彩”なべまつり) Open period is 2 days in early February. A venue is Esashi.
Onuma Hakodate Snow and Ice Festival(大沼函館雪と氷の祭典) Open period is 2 days in early February. A venue is Nanae.
Shibetsu Snow Festival(しべつ雪まつり) Open period is 2 days in early February. A venue is Shibetsu.
Obihiro Ice Festival(おびひろ氷まつり) Open period is 3 days in early February. A venue is Obihiro.
Fukagawa Ice and Snow Festival(ふかがわ氷雪まつり) Open period is 3 days in early February. A venue is Fukagawa.
Bibai Yukinko Festival(美唄雪んこまつり) Open period is 2 days in early February. A venue is Bibai.
Tomakomai Skating Festival(とまこまいスケートまつり) Open period is 2 days in early February. A venue is Tomakomai.
Noboribetsu Onsen Hot Spring Festival(登別温泉湯まつり) Open period is 2 days in early February. A venue is Noborubetsu.
Nakashibetsu Winter Festival(なかしべつ冬まつり) Open period is 2 days in early February. A venue is Nakashibetsu.
Yakumo Samuibeya Festival(八雲さむいべや祭り) Open period is 2 days in early February. A venue is Yakumo.
Kitahiroshima Fureai Snow Festival(北広島ふれあい雪まつり) Open period is 2 days in early February. A venue is Kitahiroshima.
Hakodate Winter Fireworks(函館海上冬花火) Open period is 3 days in early February. A venue is Hakodate.
Nayoro Winter Festival(なよろ雪質日本一フェスティバル) Open period is 3 days in early February. A venue is Nayoro.
Monbetsu Drift Ice Festival(もんべつ流氷まつり) Open period is 4 days in early February. A venue is Monbetsu.
Asahikawa Winter Festival(旭川冬まつり) Open period is 6 days in early February. A venue is Asahikawa.
Sapporo Snow Festival(さっぽろ雪まつり) Open period is 8 days in early February. A venue is Sapporo.
Toyako Onsen Winter Festival(洞爺湖温泉冬まつり) Open period is 10 days in early February. A venue is Toya.
Takikawa Lantern Festival(たきかわ紙袋ランターンフェスティバル) Open period is 1 day in mid February. A venue is Takikawa.
Churui Nauman Sled Contest(忠類ナウマン全道そり大会) Open period is 1 day in mid February. A venue is Makubetsu.
Wassamu Too Cold Festival(わっさむ極寒フェスティバル) Open period is 1 day in mid February. A venue is Wassamu.
Hokuto February Festa(北斗フェブラリーフェスタ) Open period is 2 days in mid February. A venue is Hokuto.
Takikawa Winter Festival(たきかわ冬まつり) Open period is 2 days in mid February. A venue is Takikawa.
Yukitopia Snow Festival(雪トピアフェスティバル) Open period is 2 days in mid February. A venue is Kuttchan.
Abashiri Okhotsk Drift Ice Festival(あばしりオホーツク流氷まつり) Open period is 3 days in mid February. A venue is Abashiri.
Shimokawa Ice Candle Museum(しもかわアイスキャンドルミュージアム) Open period is 3 days in mid February. A venue is Shimokawa.
Monbetsu Ice Candles(氷灯りの街もんべつ) Open period is 10 days in mid February. A venue is Monbetsu.
Otaru Snow Light Path Festival(小樽雪あかりの路) Open period is 10 days in mid February. A venue is Otaru.
Showa-Shinzan International Yukigassen Championships(昭和新山国際雪合戦) Open period is 2 days in late February. A venue is Sobetsu.
Japan Cup Natonal Dog Sleigh Race in Wakkanai(全国犬ぞり稚内大会) Open period is 2 days in late February. A venue is Wakkanai.
KIKORI Fstival(KIKORI祭) Open period is 2 days in late February. A venue is Nakagawa.
Karlsruhe Onsen Winter Festival(カルルス温泉冬まつり) Open period is 1 day in early March. A venue is Noboribetsu.

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