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Enjoy Japan’s Winter! Five Popular Winter Festivals and Events

On Facebook, there have been requests for "information about festivals and events held in Japan during the winter". This article aims to respond with information about events held around the country.

1. Sapporo Snow Festival

This is a famous festival that will be held for the 69th time in 2018. More than 2.5 million people visit each year to enjoy giant snow sculptures and illuminations, as well as local food from all around Hokkaido.

Odori Site: Odori Park, Nishi 1-chome - Nishi 12-chome
Tsudome Site: Sapporo Community Dome, Tsudome
Susukino Site: Ekimae-dori (Station Avenue), Minami 4-jo-dori - Minami 7-jo-dori
Odori Site and Susukino Site: February 5 (Mon) – February 12 (Mon), 2018 (February 12 is a substitute national holiday)
Tsudome Site: February 1 (Thu) – February 12 (Mon), 2018 (February 12 is a substitute national holiday)

1. Sapporo Snow Festival

Odori Nishi 1-chome - Odori Nishi 12-chome, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido

2. Asahikawa Winter Festival

This is a popular event that will be held for the 59th time in 2018. At this festival, you can see giant snow sculptures, enjoy various winter activities, and even slide down a huge snow slide! There will be fireworks during the festival, and the World Ice Sculpture Competition will take place there as well.

Sites: Asahibashi Ishikari Riverside Festival Site, Heiwadori Kaimono Park
Dates: Wednesday, February 7 (Wed) – February 12 (Mon), 2018 (February 12 is a substitute national holiday)

2. Asahikawa Winter Festival

4044 Tokiwa Koen, Asahikawa-shi, Hokkaido

3. Uesugi Snow Lantern Festival

This is a winter festival held in Yonezawa City in Yamagata Prefecture. Approximately 300 lanterns made with snow and 1,000 Yuki-bonbori (shade made with snow) are lit up with candles, so the whole festival site will be engulfed in a warm light. There is also an area filled with colorful candles, as well as a variety of food stalls where you can eat regional specialty food like Yonezawa Ramen. There is also a stage on which a variety of performances will be held.

Site: The grounds of Uesugi Shrine and Matsugasaki Park
Dates: February 10 (Sat) – February (Mon) 12, 2018 (February 12 is a substitute national holiday)

3. Uesugi Snow Lantern Festival

1-4-13 Marunouchi, Yonezawa-shi, Yamagata

4. Yokote Snow Festival - Kamakura

This is a traditional event that is held as a part of the Yokote Snow Festival, which is held from the beginning of February. It has a history of 450 years, and during this event, approximately 100 "kamakura" (snow domes) and numerous mini-kamakura appear throughout the city. Amazake (a traditional sweet drink made by letting rice starch turn into sugar) and mochi (rice cakes) are served in these kamakura.

Site: Doro Koen Park in front of Yokote City Hall, Futaba-cho Kamakura-dori, Haguro-cho Bukeyashiki-dori, Yokote Park
Dates: February 15 (Thu) and February 16 (Fri), 2018

4. Yokote Snow Festival - Kamakura

Shiroyama-machi, Yokote-shi, Akita

5. SENDAI Pageant of Starlight

This is a major winter event in Sendai that will be held for the 32nd time in 2017. Approximately 160 Japanese zelkova trees will be lit up with around 600,000 lights. An ice rink and booths are scheduled to open in neighboring parks and squares. The main street in the center of Izumi Park Town will also be lit up with illuminations.

Site: Jozenji-dori (From Higashi Nibancho-dori to Shiminkaikan-mae)
Dates: December 8 (Fri) – December 31 (Sun), 2017

5. SENDAI Pageant of Starlight

Jozenji-dori, Aoba-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi

Be sure to bundle up so that you can thoroughly enjoy the events!

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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