Celebrate winter in Hokkaido during your trip to Niseko with these three top annual festivals coming up in February 2018. They are great for the whole family with food, events, entertainment and of course, so much snow!
Sapporo Snow Festival
February 5th to 12th, 2018
Get ready for the incredible 69th Sapporo Snow Festival in 2018; a highlight on the winter festival calendar. Celebrate the magic of winter in the snowiest city in the world with amazing snow and ice sculptures scattered throughout the city's parks and streets for all to enjoy.
The festival attracts over two million visitors each year with hundreds of spectacular snow statues and ice sculptures lining Odori Park, the grounds at Tsudome and the main street in Susukino. As one of Japan’s largest winter events, the event features around 300 impressive snow sculptures, turning Sapporo into a winter wonderland of crystal-like ice and snow.
Odori site: Hop off train at Odori Station on Subway Nanboku line, Tozai line or Toho line
Tsudome site: A 15 minute walk after getting off at Sakaemachi Station on Subway Toho line.
Susukino site: Hop off train at Susukino Station on Subway Nanboku line.
Otaru Snow Light Path Festival
February 9th to 18th, 2018
The Otaru Snow Light Path Festival (Yuki Akari no Michi) is a winter festival held every February in Otaru, during which the city becomes decorated in lights and small snow statues for ten days. The combination of the snowy town and the glittering lanterns creates a magical atmosphere.
There are two main official festival areas which get lit up daily from 17:00 to 21:00: The Unga Kaijo area and the Temiyasen Kaijo area. Many locals also put lantern displays in front of their shops and residences, adding to the festival spirit. The two main areas are both located within a fifteen minute walk of Otaru Train Station, so travellers can easily enjoy the town’s atmosphere on foot.
Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival
January 26th to February 18th, 2018
Lake Shikotsu is surrounded by beautiful mountains and the Japan's farthest north open water lake. Marvel at the watching illuminated ice sculptures and also watch some of them being made!
Located about 2 hours away by car from Niseko, there are lines of ice sculptures made by spraying water from Lake Shikotsu, which boasts some of the clearest water in Japan, and freezing it. The ice slide and the horse rides around the venue are great for children. On Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays during the event period, there is the launching of around 300 fireworks, as well as traditional drum performances.