This awesome winter festival or , ‘小樽雪あかりの路, Otaru Yuki Akari no Michi’, is a romantic winter destination held every February in Otaru. This lighted path festival lasts 10 days so that it coincides with the Sapporo Snow Festival. This makes it easier for travelers in Hokkaido to visit both festivals on the same trip.
The wintry handmade beauties make you feel as if you are in a dream.
The fallen snow of the town combined with the hand-made snow lights make it a highly sought after destination. With over 500,000 visitors annually, it’s no joke! The spectacular lighted path festival has been around since 1999. To help contribute to the merriment, many locals display lanterns in front of their shops and homes, adding to the festival spirit.
The creators’ idea for this festival is this: They want the people visiting to feel calm and easy, to focus on the leisurely nature of the area, the glow of the candlelight, and have time to reflect on themselves. The goal is to make you forget about life, and focus on yourself and the pleasant feelings you get rather than our more hectic day-to-day life. The hope, is that this festival will continue to be a spiritual event rather than a commercially oriented festival.
However, I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves.
And with the two main areas located within a fifteen minute walk of the train station, travelers can easily take their time and enjoy the town’s atmosphere on foot.
The “Unga Kaijo,” area which is located along 300 meters of the town’s famous canal, is lined with restored warehouses and gas lamps. The canal is covered with small buoys that hold candles. Lining the path beside the water is a row of small snow statues that hold candles. The canal is barely a ten minute walk from Otaru Station along the main road leading from the station.
And if you didn’t love it enough, here’s more of the view.
Between the canal and the train station is the Temiyasen Kaijo area, which stretches for about half a kilometer along the tracks of the abolished Temiyasen railway line.
Otaru is a one day trip from Sapporo, which is located in Hokkaido. It is 30 minutes from Sapporo. If you are traveling from Tokyo, take the plane to Sapporo and then the train to Otaru. The total trip time takes around 3 – 5 hours.
Location: Otaru City, Hokkaido Prefecture
When: February 3-14, 2017
Time: The sites are lit daily from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm