As the winter approaches Hokkaido, the event season has begun! With colorful illumination, delicious treats and decorations with many different themes, there are many spectacular events to explore here in Hokkaido! Like I said these are winter events, so grab your winter clothes and let’s explore these events in Hokkaido!
1. 37th Sapporo White Illumination Festival
Sapporo White Illumination Festival is a popular event that is held in the center of Sapporo City. This event features an impressive display of lights in different color and design throughout Odori Park and Sapporo Station. This event started in 1981, use illumination of twinkling lights and light sculpture to express the beauty of snow landscape. It is a event you don’t want to miss as it is simply magical to be a part of.
Odori Park: 24 November 2017 ~ 25 December 2017
Sapporo Station: 24 November 2017 ~ 2 December 2018
Minami 1 Jo Area: 24 November 2017 ~ 14 March 2018
16:30 ~ 22:00 (23~15 December: Until 24:00)
English Site: http://white-illumination.jp/en-us/
Japanese Site: https://white-illumination.jp/
2. Otaru & Yoichi Snow Story Illumination
Otaru and Yoichi are alread packed with visitors throughout the year, and it makes no exception in illumination events like this. There are various activities and beautiful scenery to explore in each of the cities.
In Otaru, you will be able to take a relaxing evening walk or boat ride to discover the romantic city decorated in blue illumination. If you are here, don’t forget to stop by the Canal Plaza Front Garden to take a picture with the breathtaking Floating Orb Tree!
Yoichi is most famously known for its Nikka Distillery, but in the winter its illuminated pathway is what visitors really here for. On select days, you can also book a night tour around the factory to enjoy beautiful illumination as well as fine whiskey on this mystical and magical landscape of Hokkaido.
Otaru: 11 November 2017 ~ 18 February 2018
Yoichi: 11 November 2017 ~ 18 February 2018
Otaru: Sunset ~ 22:30
Yoichi: 16:00 ~ 22:00 (February starts from 17:00)
Official Japanese Website: https://www.snowstory.info/
3. Hokodate Christmas Fantasy Event
This is an event filled with fireworks, delicious food on top of beautiful illumination on the streets, and a gigantic Christmas tree in the middle of Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse. This evening event will surely put any visitors into the holiday spirit.
01 December 2017 ~ 25 December 2017
16:30 ~ 24:00
Official English Website: https://www.hakodate.travel/en/events/hakodate-christmas-fantasy
Official Japanese Website: http://www.hakodatexmas.com/
4. Asahikawa City Illumination
In the second largest city of Hokkaido, Asahikawa, crafted illumination is organized at the heart of this city, and the event is called the Asahikawa City Light Illumination Festival. As soon as you get off JR Station, you will be able to see over 200,000 illumination shining throughout the street of Northern Asahikawa which brings out the best of winter holiday atmosphere. These displays makes your trip to Northern Hokkaido simply unforgettable.
02 December 2017 ~ 11 March 2018
17:00 ~ 22:00
Official Japanese Website: https://www.atca.jp/machiakari/
5. Tokachi Swan Festival a.k.a Sairinka Illumination
Tokachi River is a located at east of Hokkaido, and it has a hot spring emerging from the river, making the water warm even in harsh winter! For this very reason the swans come here to rest, and the locals throw a festival of the swans’ return with illumination, thus the Tokachi Swan Festival. This event alone brings more than 50,000 people to this place every year. Like I said this place is famous for hot spring, so after you enjoyed the illumination, you can enjoy the fabulous spring here. The relaxation of your body and mind will make your trip more memorable than all other trips before.
27 January 2018 ~ 25 February 2018
19:00 ~ 21:00
Official English Website: http://www.tokachigawa.net/english/seasons/winter.html
Official Japanese Website: http://www.tokachigawa.net/event/sairinka.html
6. Lake Toya Illumination Tunnel
While visiting the famous hot spring in Lake Toya, be sure to visit the Lake Toya Illumination Tunnel in winter! The scenery and nature here is not just beautiful, it is magnificent, and the 70 meters long illumination tunnel in winter just makes things even better. A word of advice, take many photos here, because scenery like this does not come by often.
10 November 2017 ~ 04 March 2018
18:00 ~ 22:00
Official English Website: http://en.laketoya.com/illumination/
Official Japanese Website: http://www.laketoya.com/illumination/
7. Shiroi Koibito Park Illumination
Shiroi Koibito Park is one of the most romantic attraction in Sapporo, and the illumination makes it a must-go place on your Christmas travel itinerary. Starting this year, the park adds a brand new area to the illumination festival called “Sweets Dream Illumination and Sweet Skate Fantasy”, filled with new gorgeous decoration, light displays and even the choice to skate alongside the illumination! This new attraction will cost 1,000JPY for adults, but the rest of the illumination area is free to enter! Also the sweets adds so much flavor to your trip here.
Illumination Area: 01 November 2017 ~ 25 March 2018
Sweets Skate Fantasy Area: 08 December 2017 ~ 28 February 2018.
Sunset ~ 19:30 (November ~ 7 December & All of March)
Sunset ~ 21:00 (8 December ~ 28 February)
Sweets Skate Fantasy Area:
16:45 ~ 20:15
Official Japanese Website: http://www.shiroikoibitopark.jp/illumination/
Official English Website: http://www.shiroikoibitopark.jp/english/access/
8. Sapporo Factory Jumbo Christmas Festival
Sapporo Factory is a complex with lots of facilities and numerous other activities to shop, watch movie, enjoy descent meal and more! During the months of November and December, the atrium of this place is decorated with 35,000 beautifully designed and intricate lights, and of course the Factory’s very own 15 meter Christmas tree brings the holiday mood to every visitors’ heart.
03 November 2017 ~ 25 December 2017
16:00 ~ 22:00
Official English Website: https://sapporofactory.jp.e.acw.hp.transer.com/event/detail.php?id=34
Official Japanese Website: https://sapporofactory.jp/event/detail.php?id=34
List of Events in Order by Date:
- Shiroi Koibito Park Illumination (01 Novermber)
- Sapporo Factory Jumbo Christmas Festival (03 November)
- Lake Toya Illumination Tunnel (10 November)
- Otaru & Yoichi Snow Story Illumination (11 November)
- 37th Sapporo White Illumination Festival (24 November)
- Hokodate Christmas Fantasy Event (01 December)
- Asahigawa City Illumination (02 December)
- Tokachi Swan Festival (27 January)
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