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Otaru Snow Light Path in Hokkaido

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Otaru Snow Light Path in Hokkaido


A winter festival sure to remain unchanged by the passage of time

Otaru City, Hokkaido


©Tatsuo Nemoto


Otaru Snow Light Path, a magical event where candles gently illuminate the old townscape, was begun in 1999 by a civic association. It is held at the Canal and Temiya Line main venues, Tenguyama and Otaru Art Base sub-venues, and 40 other sites throughout the city, such as Canal Plaza.

Most of the floating glass candles—reminiscent of old fishing gear—that twinkle on the water of the canal, the snow candles emitting soft light, and sculptures are handmade by volunteers. Although the event attracts more than 400,000 visitors from around the world, the organizers say that the scale of the event or number of visitors is not what matters. The idea behind the festival is spiritual: to create a space where visitors can feel at ease, let their thoughts flow in the glow of the candles, and have time to reflect on themselves while forgetting about their complicated everyday life in a rapidly changing society. Although times may change, as long as the hearts and minds of people remain the same, the Otaru Snow Light Path will continue for many years to come.


How to get there


From Sapporo Station, take the train to Otaru Station (about 30  minutes by express service). The Otaru Snow Light Path is about an 8-minute walk from Otaru Station.


Minato-machi, Otaru-shi, Hokkaido




Otaru Snow Light Path




More Information


Hokkaido Region | JNTO Official Website

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