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Exploring Hokkaido's Winter Wonderland: A Festive Journey

Dec 28, 2023

Winter in Hokkaido is a unique experience, and there's something special for everyone to enjoy. Beyond skiing and snowboarding, be sure to check out the winter events – festivals and illuminations – that add a unique touch to the snowy landscape. Adding a few of these uniquely Japanese events to your winter holiday will add another layer of enjoyment.

Otaru Snow Light Path Festival : Feb 10th – 17th

The Otaru Snow Light Path Festival, beginning on February 10th and running until the 17th, is an event which draws visitors from around the world who are eager to witness the radiance of thousands of twinkling snow lanterns lining the picturesque canal pathways. Combine Otaru's famous seafood for a full day out.

Check out the Sapporo Travel webpage for more information.

Otaru snow light path
Otaru Snow Light path

Sapporo Snow Festival : Feb 4th – 11th

The Sapporo Snow Festival steals the spotlight from February 4 to 11. This iconic event turns Sapporo into a winter wonderland with its elaborate snow and ice sculptures. As a prelude, the Sapporo White Illumination on Ekimae Street, which started on November 22, 2023, and continues until February 11, 2024, sets the city aglow with millions of sparkling lights, creating a truly mesmerizing spectacle.

Sapporo snow festival
Sapporo Snow Festival

The luminous journey continues within Sapporo with three sites, namely 1-jo dori, Sapporo Kita 3 jo Plaza, and JR Sapporo Station South Exit Plaza, remaining illuminated until March 14, 2024. These sites provide the perfect setting for a magical evening stroll, captivating visitors and transforming the city into a winter fairyland.

Check out the official Sapporo Snow Festival webpage.

Shikotsu Lake Ice Festival : Jan 28th – Feb 23rd

Venturing beyond Sapporo, the Shikotsu Lake Ice Festival, running from January 28 to February 23, promises a mesmerizing showcase of ice sculptures against the pristine backdrop of the frozen lake. This event allows visitors to immerse themselves in the artistry of ice, adding an extra layer of wonder to the winter experience.

For the latest information on Shikotsu Lake Ice Festival, click here.

Shikotsu Lake Ice Festival

Yukitopia : mid Feb

As mid-February approaches, the Yukitopia Snow Festival takes center stage, celebrating the beauty of snow in all its glory. This event is a unique experience that captures the essence of winter's wonder. From intricately crafted snow sculptures to lively performances and cultural displays, Yukitopia is a very family friendly event with lots of activities for the little ones. Very popular with Kutchan and Niseko locals, activities often include sledding, snow rafting, and much more. Add this onto your Niseko ski & snowboard holiday to make for a more well rounded winter sojourn in Hokkaido.

For more updates on Kutchan towns Yukitopia, click here.

Yukitopia 2017 kutchan mascot
Yukitopia, Kutchan

Niseko Town Illuminated BBQ Night : mid Feb

Meanwhile, in Niseko Town, an illuminated BBQ night adds a touch of warmth to the snowy landscape, creating a cozy and festive atmosphere for locals and visitors alike. As the sun sets, lanterns line the pathways, casting a gentle glow over the snow. People gather around open grills, sharing hearty meals and stories. The aroma of barbecue fills the air, and live music adds to the festive atmosphere. It's a cherished winter tradition, blending delicious food, twinkling lights, and community spirit. Whether roasting marshmallows or enjoying hot cocoa, this event fosters connections and creates lasting memories in the heart of winter.

For more information on events at Niseko Town, click here.


Lake Toya Illumination Festival : Nov 1st, 2023 – Feb 29th 2024

For a serene and visually stunning experience, make your way to the Lake Toya Illumination Festival. Running from November 1, 2023, to February 29, 2024, and then from March 1 to March 31, 2024, this event transforms Nigiwai Hiroba in front of the Hotel Lakeside Terrace into a mesmerizing display of lights, offering a serene escape into the world of winter enchantment.

Find out more about Lake Toya here.

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Lake Toya Illumination Festival


For an exciting escapade a bit farther away, Noboribetsu awaits, boasting Hokkaido's most famous hot spring resort. Wander through the town adorned with eleven intriguing demon statues, each with its own unique charm. Dive (but not literally) into eleven different hot spring waters, each offering a distinct and rejuvenating bathing experience. Whether soothing or invigorating, these thermal waters promise relaxation amidst picturesque surroundings.

Noboribetsu isn't just about hot springs – it's a delightful blend of cultural charm and natural beauty. Explore charming streets, visit traditional shops, and meander through scenic nature trails. The town invites you to unwind, recharge, and immerse yourself in the enchantment of Hokkaido's renowned hot spring destination.

Learn more about Noboribetsu here.

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Noboribetsu Onsen

Hokkaido in winter is a realm of enchantment, where festivals and illuminations turn the snowy landscape into a canvas of wonder. Embrace the magic, explore the festivals, and create unforgettable winter memories in this northern paradise.

If you are considering a holiday in Niseko, explore Taiga's portfolio of luxury accommodations for comprehensive details and booking information.

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