Home Hokkaido Hokkaido Otaru Snow Light Path Festival - All You Need to Know Before You Go

Otaru Snow Light Path Festival - All You Need to Know Before You Go

by Ryu_C@RakuRakuJP

Otaru Snow Light Road held exclusively at night

Every year when Hokkaido comes to winter in February, snow festivals in different regions will be held one after another. In addition to the very famous ones with large snow statues, ice sculptures, and large-scale event exhibitionsSapporo Snow FestivalIn addition, there is actually another one that is also held in February, very close to Sapporo Station, and you must not miss it when you arrange your Hokkaido itinerary – Otaru Snow Light Road (小飞雪あかりの路).

The Otaru Snow Lantern Road has many similarities with the Sapporo Snow Festival, such as convenient transportation, free participation, and the holding period will last for about a week, etc. Moreover, the venue of the Otaru Snow Lantern Road is near Otaru Station. Basically, starting from Sapporo and arranging a one-day round-trip "日帰り" itinerary is an absolutely feasible and very easy snow festival visit itinerary. As long as there is no sudden snowstorm that causes the suspension of all JR trains in Hokkaido, there will be no major problems.

andThe biggest difference between Otaru Snow Lantern Road and Sapporo Snow Festival, that is, the period of the Otaru Snow Lantern Road and the start time.

First of all, since the theme of the Otaru Snow Festival is "Snow Lantern Road",The holding time will of course start in the evening hours after sunset, so that you can clearly see the candlelight soaked from the snow.

In addition, according to the holding records of the Sapporo Snow Festival and the Otaru Snow Festival in the past few years, it is generally the first place in thefirst week of februaryThe Sapporo Snow Festival is held, and then the opening day of the Otaru Snow Lantern Road is held every few days.Generally speaking, the Sapporo Snow Festival and the Otaru Snow Festival will overlap for a few days, so if your goal in coming to Hokkaido is to participate in these two snow festivals, you can check the dates of the two snow festivals in autumn every year, and then apply for a holiday to come to Hokkaido on the days when the two snow festivals overlap , get two completely different snow festival experiences at once.

Snow lantern decorations during the Otaru Snow Lantern Festival
Otaru Snow Light Road – a snow festival composed of candles, lights, and small snow statues

Itinerary for the Otaru Snow Lantern Trail

If you want your Hokkaido itinerary to cover Otaru Snow Festival and Sapporo Snow Festival,Arrange a 3 days and 2 nights itinerary with the theme of snow festivalIt is very suitable for:

first dayFirst depart from Sapporo Station, visit different venues of the Sapporo Snow Festival from morning to night, and experience the unique way of roasting meat in Hokkaido - Genghis Khan roasted meat "ジンギスカン roasted meat" (jingisukan yakiniku), Sapporo's unique miso ramen, a few The very famous Hokkaido conveyor belt sushi, and then stay in Sapporo for one night.
the next dayFrom the morning to the afternoon, continue to participate in the Sapporo Snow Festival and depart to different attractions in Sapporo, and then depart from Sapporo Station to Otaru at 5:00 pm to start the Snow Lantern Road trip.

Of course, if you feel that you can finish watching the Sapporo Snow Festival on the first day, and you are not very interested in the city attractions, shopping streets, and shopping malls in Sapporo, you can also watch it the next morning. Go directly to Otaru. In the morning, visit different specialty glassware stores and jewelry stores, and enjoy Otaru's unique dessert shops, buffet seafood bowls, etc. at noon. Then stay in Otaru until 5 pm, and you can start to enjoy it when the Otaru Snow Light Road starts to light up. You don’t need to worry about missing the Otaru Snow Light Road because of the heavy snow that caused the railway between Sapporo and Otaru to be out of service. journey.

And different itinerary arrangements and choosing different places to stay will determine the experience you will get throughout the snow festival itinerary.

For example, if you plan toArrange an overnight stay in OtaruIf so, you can visit the Otaru Snow Lantern Road until 9:00 pm,There is no need to bother about the final electricity time of Otaru – Sapporo, and don’t worry that there will be no train rebates to Sapporo due to heavy snow. In addition, because you are already in Otaru in the morning of the next day, you can easily avoid the crowds, go to the seafood market in Otaru to experience seafood bowls, or go to LeTAO dessert shop to enjoy the daily priority Limited, limited desserts. In addition, you can easily participate in the glass making experience that you have already booked, and you will not need to run around because you have arranged a round-trip itinerary for the same day.

Of course, it is not necessary to arrange accommodation in Otaru to participate in the Otaru Snow Lantern Road. If you choose to arrange accommodation in Sapporo, then useDay round trip Otaru – SapporoThe way to participate in the Otaru Snow Festival, the benefits of this itinerary areNo need to drag suitcases to Otaru, and at the same time, you can get a better discount on the accommodation plan in Sapporo.
In addition, it is more convenient to use Sapporo as the accommodation base for Hokkaido itinerary, whether it is to the surrounding areas of Sapporo, New Chitose Airport, Hokkaido East, etc., than to start from Otaru.
However, for the itinerary of participating in the Otaru Snow Lantern Road and visiting Otaru City, the itinerary back and forth on the day may have the feeling of taking a quick look at the flowers. After all, the Otaru Snow Lantern Road starts at night and ends at 9 o'clock. If you are not careful, it is easy to miss the final time of the Otaru-Sapporo train, then you may face the risk that there will be no train back to Sapporo, and there will be no hotel vacancies in Otaru that can give you a temporary reservation.

Basically, the itinerary on the third day is relatively free. Although the overlapping time of the two snow festivals of Sapporo Snow Festival and Otaru Snow Lantern Road may not be very long, if you come to the third day, you can still participate in two snow festivals at the same time. For the snow festival, you can continue the itinerary of "Sapporo Snow Festival in the daytime and Otaru Snow Lantern Road in the evening". Otherwise, you can arrange the attractions you want to visit according to your place of accommodation.
Or you can be like me, because you choose to stay in Otaru, so you can start wandering in the Otaru area in the morning, or go a little further to the Otaru Aquarium, and take the Tengu Mountain Cable Car to enjoy the snow in Otaru City. At noon, return to the Otaru Canal, eat at LeTAO Dessert Shop once more, go to Liukatei and Beiguolou to make up for purchases, and then decide whether you want to see the Otaru Snow Lantern Road again according to the mood, time, and itinerary of the day, and make up shots Some Snow Lantern Trail sights that were missed yesterday.

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A pre-departure guide for the Otaru Snow Light Trail

Just like the Sapporo Snow Festival, when you go to the Otaru Snow Festival, you need to remember that the name of the local event is "Otaru snow あかりの路", then you won't see the sign and don't know which direction to go.

Locations where snow lights appear during the Otaru Snow Festival

maybe becauseThe venues of the Otaru Snow Lantern Road are relatively concentrated, and the main tourist areas of Otaru are smaller than Sapporo, and the Otaru Snow Festival is concentrated in a few hours at night. Therefore, when arranging the itinerary of the Otaru Snow Lantern Road and the itinerary of visiting Otaru City, it will not be likeSapporo Snow FestivalSame complexity. Basically, as long as you spend 2-3 hours slowly walking in Otaru City and around the Otaru Canal, you can already appreciate most of the snow lantern installations placed in Otaru.
Moreover, the locations where snow lanterns are placed on the Otaru Snow Lantern Road are not limited to certain venues, but anySmall shops can arrange their own snow light decorations, so it can be said that it is very easy to be able to take pictures with the snow lanterns during the Otaru Snow Lantern Road.

How to visit the Otaru Snow Light Road

To put it simply, the goal of the Otaru Snow Festival (小飞雪あかりの路) is to attract tourists from other regions to Otaru. Therefore, in addition to the snow festival organizers making snow lanterns and snow statues, there are many shops in Otaru City. They will arrange their own snow lights and snow statues to be placed at the entrance of the store. The best way to participate for travelers like you is to visit different shops and enjoy the winter itinerary experience of different snow lights.
Basically, the most important thing is to prepare enough cash, because Otaru is a very suitable place to spend money and spend a lot of money on shopping. Basically, buy a few sets of winter-limited glass decorations, music boxes for friends, and a variety of Otaru-limited foods , It is really not difficult to spend more than 100,000 yen here in one day.

Weather conditions for Otaru Snow Light Trail

It is also because the Otaru Snow Lantern Road is usually held around the first ten days of February, which is the coldest day in Hokkaido's "true winter period", so you need to pay more attention to the weather forecast and how to keep warm before setting off to Otaru. Although the daily temperature in Otaru will not easily break the line of -10 degrees like Asahikawa and Furano, the normal temperature is basically around -5 degrees. However, as long as there is a strong cold current, there may still be an outdoor environment of -15 degrees during the Snow Festival, which is probably a cold level that makes people not want to step out of the indoor greenhouse.
Therefore, if you know that it will be cold in those few days before departure, you must wear enough clothes so that you will be in a good mood to appreciate the different snow lantern decorations in Otaru City.

Further reading:
Hokkaido Winter Dressing" Daoist Life Shares How to Cope with Cold Weather Clothes Wearing List

Decide on the itinerary for the Otaru Snow Festival before departure

It is also because the Otaru Snow Festival is a snow festival that is mainly held in the evening with snow lights. If your itinerary is aimed at taking pictures, rather than simply experiencing it, it is worth considering whether you want it before departure. Stay in Otaru for one more day, or arrange a one-day round-trip Otaru-Sapporo itinerary.
simply put,The snow lanterns in Otaru will have a special magic that makes you look at them more timesIn fact, a few hours alone is not enough to appreciate slowly and carefully. If you haven't booked a room in Otaru, you will probably need to make up your mind to leave so as not to miss the final train back to Sapporo. Otherwise, you can divide the itinerary of the Otaru Snow Lantern Road into two halves just like the itinerary shared just now, and arrange one day of the Hokkaido itinerary to stay in Otaru, so that you will not miss every opportunity to take pictures with the snow lanterns.

Further reading: Recommended accommodation in Sapporo and Otaru! Stay at Hokkaido Hoshino "OMO5 Otaru" and "OMO3 Susukino" at a discounted price

Further reading:
17 recommended hotels in the Sapporo area》From luxury rooms to cheap deals! Plus push to share the secrets of booking a room at the Sapporo Snow Festival and winter snow!

2024 Otaru Snow Lantern Trail holding time

2024 is the 26th Otaru Snow Lantern Trail, which will be held inFrom February 10, 2024 to February 17, 2024, held from 17:00 – 21:00 every day.

Venue and location of the 2024 Otaru Snow Lantern Trail

Although fromOfficial website of Otaru Snow Light RoadGenerally speaking, there seem to be several snow lantern venues. There are not only Canal Venue A, but also Canal Venue B, as well as Kita Canal Venue, Temiya Line Venue, Art Village Venue, Tengu Mountain Venue, "Snow Lantern Road Venue", etc. It seems that you can visit all the venues at once. It's too easy and takes a lot of time.

But in fact, the snow lanterns of the Otaru Snow Festival are actually concentrated in three places: the "Canal Venue", the "Temiya Line Venue", and the "Art Village Venue".

To put it simply, if calculated by the number of snow lanterns and the size of the venue, the "Temiya Line Venue" is the main venue of the Otaru Snow Festival. "Teomiya Stitch", and then along the old railway, you will find a lot of snow light installations. The "Canal Venue" is next to the Otaru Canal, so it will be smaller than the "Temiya Line Venue". The "Art Village Venue" is near the Nitori Art Museum next to the Otaru Canal, the former Mitsui Bank Otaru Branch, and the Stained Glass Museum. It is the smallest of the three venues.

Features of the Temiya Line Venue

If you can only stay in Otaru for a limited time, and you can only choose one of the three Otaru Snow Festival venues to visit, you must go to the "Temiya Line venue" first.

The "Temiya Line Venue" is not only because of the largest scale, different types and different designs of snow lanterns, you can also ask the staff to help you take pictures, and if you are lucky, you will meet local residents to share hot food with you. It is a very rare snow festival experience.
In addition, because there are not many buildings near the "Temiya Line venue", the snow lights taken by the camera will be better than the "Canal venue", so it is worth setting off to the "Temiya Line venue" as soon as possible.

Features of the canal venue

Unlike the "Temiya Line Venue", the "Canal Venue" is dominated by simple snow lanterns. Perhaps it is because the "Canal Venue" is close to the Otaru Canal and warehouses. Basically, there will be more crowds around 6 o'clock every night, because everyone wants to take commemorative photos with the canals and warehouses. If you want to appreciate the snow lights, it will be less easy.
If the itinerary permits, you can also go to the "Temiya Line Venue" side first, and then come back to visit the snow lanterns at the "Canal Venue" and take additional photos.

Otherwise, if the weather is colder, you can also take advantage of the restaurants near the "canal venue" to take a break. This itinerary is more recommended.

Features of the Art Village venue

The "Art Village Venue" is a relatively small venue, about the size of 3-4 basketball courts. It is located within the Otaru Art Village, about a 3-minute walk from the Otaru Canal. Nearby are the Bird Art Museum, the former Otaru branch of Mitsui Bank, and the Stained Glass Museum. If you are interested in the history of Otaru, you can also arrange a day trip to Otaru to visit here

Unlike the "Temiya Line Venue" and "Canal Venue", the "Art Village Venue" mainly provides snow activities such as snow slides and snow piles, and the objects are mainly for young children to have fun. However, there are fewer snow lantern decorations here, and generally there are only the simplest snow lantern devices. Although the main object of the "Art Village Venue" is a place for young children to play, in fact, adults can also experience the snow slide. As long as the young children are allowed to play first, it is actually not a big problem.
To put it simply, if this year's "Art Village Venue" still has snow slides, you can spend a little time here, especially if you haven't experienced snow slides in the entire Hokkaido itinerary, this side can Let you play a few times before going home.

Other Otaru Snow Festival venues

The other "North Canal Venue", "Tengu Mountain Venue", and "Snow Lantern Road Venue" are all relatively minor venues. For example, take the "North Canal Venue" as an example. If you pass by the Otaru Canal, you can also enjoy it Go to the scene where the warehouse lights up, or you can take a rest at the roof here.
"Tengu Mountain Venue" is a venue where some small snow lantern installations will be placed on the Tengu Mountain Observatory. In terms of the number of snow lanterns, it is actually not very much. Basically, the main goal of going to the "Tengu Mountain Venue" is to enjoy the night view of Otaru on Tengu Mountain. If you just set off to enjoy the snow lights, you have to consider the wind, temperature, and traffic conditions of the day before deciding, otherwise it can be simple One point, leave more time on the side of the "Temiya Line Venue".

Strictly speaking, the "Snow Lantern Road Venue" is not a fixed snow lantern venue, butDifferent shops in Otaru will set up their own snow light installations to form the "Snow Light Road". Although the scale of the "Snow Lantern Road Venue" is definitely smaller than that of the "Temiya Line Venue", each snow lantern set up by a merchant will have its own characteristics.
Also because the "Snow Lantern Road Venue" does not have a specific location, so if you start from LeTAO and live along "Sakamachi Hondori" to the direction of the Otaru Canal, pass through "Ironai Odori" and "Otaru Post Office", and finally arrive at In the "Art Village Venue" route of Otaru Art Village, you have the opportunity to see different kinds of snow lanterns, snowmen, snow statues, etc. The best way to fully experience the "Snow Lantern Road Venue" is probably to wait for the itinerary after eating LeTAO, then you can walk slowly to the "Canal Venue" and "Temiya Line Venue" while strolling , I watched most of the snow lanterns in Otaru in one go.

A large snow statue during the Otaru Snow Festival
Large snow statue near "Sakamachi Hondori" LeTAO, Music Box Museum
Snow lantern decorations during the Otaru Snow Lantern Festival
Snow light installation at the entrance of "Otaru Post Office"

How to visit the "Temiya Line Venue"

Although the venue of the Otaru Snow Lantern Festival is not very large, if compared with the Sapporo Snow Festival, it can be said to be very small, and the snow lanterns that can be seen seem to be very limited.

But as long as you look at the photos below, you will have the urge to go again and again, especially because the snow lanterns and snow statues in Otaru are relatively small in scale. Sometimes the local staff will redesign according to the weather and the melting of the snow lanterns. Create a different snow light device.
So if you will stay overnight in Otaru during the Otaru Snow Lantern Road, you can also take some time to compare it with the "Temiya Line Venue". Maybe the snow lanterns will change a little on different days.

In addition, there are many restaurants and izakayas that are open until late at night near the "Temiya Line Venue". If you feel cold during the visit to the "Temiya Line Venue", you can go to have a cup of hot drink and eat a bowl of ramen before continuing to visit.

Various ways to visit the "Canal Venue"

Visit by foot

Generally speaking, the "Canal Venue" starts from the "Asakusa Bridge" of the Otaru Canal, which happens to be the location of the "Otaru Tourist Information Service Center". There is a clock with real-time temperature next to it, which is a very suitable place to take commemorative photos . If the temperature of the day can exceed -15 degrees, don't forget to take pictures, because such low temperatures are not easy to occur in Otaru.

The entire "Canal Venue" is divided into two parts, "Canal Venue A" and "Canal Venue B", and you can probably start from "Asakusa Bridge" and walk slowly to the side of "Ryugu Bridge".
Basically, as long as you stand on the "Asakusa Bridge", you can take pictures of the entire Otaru Canal and the Otaru warehouse, and then walk slowly from the "Asakusa Bridge" through the sidewalk next to the Otaru Canal, and you can appreciate the hard work of the staff Repairing different snow lights, and relighting candles that were blown out by the wind.

The view of Otaru Canal in winter snow festival
During the Otaru Snow Lantern Road, the snow is very deep, so be careful not to fall into the canal!
Snow lantern decorations during the Otaru Snow Lantern Festival
As long as the snow lamp is lit for a period of time, it will slowly turn into a transparent ice lamp

Visit by boat on the Otaru Canal

In addition to visiting the "Canal Venue" on foot, you can actually use the Otaru Canal Boat to appreciate the snow light installation on the "Canal Venue" from different angles, and take pictures with the Otaru Warehouse from another angle along the way.

The Otaru Canal Boat departs from the Central Bridge, first departs to Otaru Port, then crosses the Ryugu Bridge, the Central Bridge from the North Canal, and passes through the Otaru Canal to the location of the warehouses and the Snow Lantern Road "Canal Venue". If you use the canal boat to visit during the Otaru Snow Festival, there is an advantage, that is, the Otaru canal boat will extend the business hours, and the latest one is at 20:00 in the evening. Even after visiting the "Temiya Line Venue" and "Snow Lantern Road Venue" first, you can use the Otaru Canal Boat to visit the "Canal Venue" and the scene of the Otaru warehouse lighting up.

Of course, if there is enough time in the itinerary, you can actually arrange to take a canal boat once during the day, and then take another ride after the Otaru Snow Festival lights up, so that you can see two completely different scenery.

Otaru Canal Guided Boat Sightseeing Course
The Otaru Canal boats in the daytime and at night have different scenery, it is worth taking the time to experience it
Canal boats in winter can have two completely different experiences during the day and at night

How to book a boat on the Otaru Canal: Although most of the time, the Otaru Canal boat can buy tickets directly without reservation, but in terms of the crowds participating in the Otaru Snow Festival, if there is no reservation in advance during the Snow Festival, there is basically no chance to line up . Therefore, it is highly recommended toOfficial site of the Otaru Canal BoatBook a seat over there, or use the booking website kkday to make an appointment, and then leave for Otaru to participate in the snow festival.

Click the link to claim the kkday booking offer: Otaru Canal Cruise Tickets

Snow lantern making experience

Although most of the snow lanterns at the Otaru Snow Festival are made by the staff of the organizer, if you have much confidence in your Japanese ability, you can also express to the staff on the spot that you are interested in making a snow lantern of your own. There may be unexpected gains!

How to make Otaru snow lanterns
The process of making snow lanterns is not complicated at all. If you are interested and have certain Japanese skills, you can challenge it.


Otaru Snow Light Road,Sapporo Snow FestivalThese are the most unmissable snow festivals in Hokkaido, and it is also the most worthwhile itinerary for overseas tourists. If you just came to Hokkaido in February, or you are planning to go to Hokkaido for the first time but have not thought of any itinerary, spending a day and a half to go to these two snow festivals will be more worthwhile than going to a few more shopping malls .

Also, if you are all set to go to Hokkaido, you can check back regularlyHokkaido Travel Information ClassificationIn this edition, maybe there will be more travel classification information that will be helpful to you. Another point is that the general Hokkaido itinerary will add the Tokyo itinerary at the same time. If you will leave for Tokyo at the same time, you can also checkSee Tokyo Travel Information CategoryThat side, maybe all the same will help you.

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