There is a beautiful festival which coincides with the Sapporo Festival in Japan and it is called Otaru Snow Light Festival, also known as Otaru Yuki Akari no Michi in Japanese. It is a festival of snow lamps and lights held every February in Otaru, a small harbor city in Hokkaido. It runs for 10 days in two main areas: Unga Kaijo and Temiyasen Kaijo. The sight is very enchanting as many lanterns are displayed in several houses and shops.
The festival lighting starts at 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. every day which makes the whole city come alive. The most popular area for viewing is the Unga Kaijo where you can see a lot of glittering lanterns along the beautiful canal which is majestic in nature. Floating candles can be seen on the surface of the freezing canal. This can also be a romantic experience for couples. Temiyasen Kaijo offers more shelter from the cold weather while watching the snow-covered paths illuminated by snow lanterns which have been well-crafted by artists. Getting to Unga Kaijo can take 10 minutes on foot from JR Otaru Station. Temiyasen Kaijo on the other hand, is located between the canal and the train station.
Many visitors pack the place every year and take photographs of the breathtaking scenery the festival offers.
While walking down the path beautifully lit with lanterns, you can find some food stalls and grab a bite. There are also some places offering local delicacies and souvenirs to choose from. Some of these are Otaru sushi, mochi and ramen. Otaru has many glass factories which explains why there are so many glass crafts available as souvenirs. These are just a few of places to look out for while trotting down the path during the festival.
Enjoy the winter beauty of Japan this coming February 6th to 15th at the Otaru Snow Light Path Festival!