Most Popular Snow Festivals in Japan


Snowmen meeting at Asahikawa © 喫遊趣/Flickr

Many people say that summer is the best time to travel abroad and enjoy your holiday in the sunny weather. Even though summer holidays are more popular, winter trips have their beauty as well. Japan, The Land of the Rising Sun is gorgeous at any time of the year: starting from the cherry blossoming, the amazing summer celebrations, the autumn colors and the numerous winter and snow festivals are all equally splendid.

By writing this article I want to prove you that even winter trips can give you unforgettable memories. The sight of the large Japanese shrines and temples covered with snow cannot be compared to anything else all around the world. Japanese people had created their own traditions of organizing these snow festivals all around the country. This article gives a short description about the most popular snow festivals in Japan.


Sapporo Snow Festival

Sapporo snow festival

Huge snow castle at Sapporo Snow Festival © David McKelvey/Flickr

Sapporo Snow Festival is the most popular snow festival in Japan.  It is organized every year in February. In 2014, the 65th Sapporo Snow Festival will be celebrated between 5 and 11 February. The huge snow sculptures in the Odori park are all made by local citizens and they attract an avegare of 2 million tourists here every winter.

The sculptures are all illuminated every night, giving a fairy feeling to the whole central city. The park itself is near the Odori Station and Susukino Station, so it is very easy to get here by public transport.


Asahikawa Winter Festival


Ice sculpture at Asahikawa Winter Festival © 喫遊趣/Flickr

Located on the island of Hokkaido, it is the northernmost snow/winter festival in Japan. Just like in Sapporo, the main attractions of this festival are the large snow sculptures. The only difference is the size of these sculptures: last year, the sculpture of Suwon Castle (Korea) had the volume of 103,600 cubic meters! It was also inscribed in the Guiness World Records, for being the largest snow sculpture in the world.

Asahikawa Winter Festival is celebrated between 8 and 12 February. If you visit this festival, you can also try snow and ice sculpting and you also have the opportunity to ski and to fight with snowballs. The festival also gives home to the World Ice Sculpting Contest. The snow and ice sculptures at Asahikawa worth a visit for sure.

asahikawa snow temple

Amazing architects form snow at Asahikawa ©喫遊趣/Flickr


Lake Shikaribetsu Kotan


Igloo village built on Lake Shikaribetsu Kotan © David McKelvey/Flickr

This festival takes place on the frozen Shikaribetsu Lake, between 28 January and 31 March. There is a large ice village built on the lake: everything is sculpted from snow and ice. Igloos furnisher with snow beds, tables, chairs etc attract thousands of visitors to the festival. By coming here, you also have the opportunity of taking a hot bath in the hot spring waters of this place.

You can arrive here by taking the Hokkaido Takoshoku Bus from JR Shintoku Station, the you have to get off at Shikaribetsu-ko Bus Stop. The ride takes approximately 90 minutes, but trust me, this place worths a visit.



Amateur snow sculpting Asahikawa Winter Festival 🙂 © 喫遊趣/Flickr

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