The city of Hakodate is completely covered in white in winter and it features a couple of festivals in the months of January and February. Between the snow sculptures, illuminations and other charming sights, this city has everything you want in a winter event. Let’s see what makes Hakodate the best winter spot in Japan.
The winter illumination in Hakodate starts from November end to March end every year. The streets are adorned with more than 50000 lights, giving you a dreamy night view that cannot be found anywhere else. The main spots in the city to capture this view are Motomachi Park and streets such as Hachimanzaka and Nijukkenzaka. The trees along those streets are outlined with lights in the evening from 5 pm to 10 pm. Not only the trees, buildings including churches, temples, the public hall and bay area are all lit up making the city brighter than ever. Many tourists who are new in town usually visit only Motomachi Park and Hachimanzaka Street which are famous. They are accessible on foot from Hakodate Station or you can stroll around the city in a streetcar that runs through all major spots.
The highlight of all the illuminations in Hakodate is the star illumination of Goryokaku. Goryokaku is a star-shaped fortress in the city which is also famous for its cherry blossoms in the spring. The Goryokaku is usually lit from the end of November to the end of February only. The 1.8-kilometer perimeter of this historical site is illuminated to make its star shape stand out. You can get a bird`s view from the nearby Goryokaku Tower.
Onuma Hakodate Snow and Ice Festival is held on February 6th to 7th at Onuma Quasi-National Park. It is an annual event with many snow sculptures just like that of the Sapporo Snow Festival. The highlight of this festival is the giant ice slide made of lake water that one can slide down without using a sled. Ice carving, dances and other local performing arts are held during this joyous two-day festival.
Hakodate is the perfect place for your winter trip and it has been attracting a lot of tourists for a long time. Do visit the city and enjoy its beautiful wonders.