Festivals & Events
Hirosaki Castle Snow Lantern Festival 弘前城雪灯籠まつり
A fantasy world of snow, illumination, and imagination at a castle in Aomori
The Hirosaki Castle Snow Lantern Festival surrounds the quaint castle in Aomori Prefecture with a few hundred snow lanterns, hundreds of small igloos known as kamakura, and snow sculptures, in a fantastical display of imagination from artistic locals and even Japan's Self-Defense Forces.
- The small kamakura igloos aglow from within
- Exhibits of Hirosaki Neputa Matsuri fans
- The fireworks and entertainment, alongside food stalls serving local specialties
How to Get There
You can reach Hirosaki by train, plane, and bus.
From Tokyo, the fastest way to get to the area by train is on the Tohoku Shinkansen to Shin-Aomori Station, which takes around 3.5 hours, followed by a 40-minute local train to Hirosaki. There are also flights from Tokyo's Haneda Airport to Aomori Airport and highway buses between Tokyo and Aomori.
From Hirosaki Station, it is a 15-minute bus ride to the Shiyakusho Mae bus stop. If you walk, it is around 30 minutes from the station to Hirosaki Park.
The festival is all around the Hirosaki Park area by the castle and in the heart of the city.
One of Japan's top snow festivals
The Hirosaki Castle Snow Lantern Festival is filled with many activities both for day and night.
At the Fujita Memorial Garden, there is a big snow statue. At night, there is a projection mapping display on the statue. The Tsugaru-Nishiki-e Cloister is another highlight—a pair of walls that display the fronts and backs of Neputa Matsuri fans.
At night, the fans are lit up, just like during the summer Neputa festival. While the scale of the neputa is much smaller than on the summer floats, you can get a real sense of the energy and color of the Hirosaki Neputa Matsuri .
For family fun
The playground has games and two large snow slides. On one of the evenings of the festival, there is a fireworks show. In Japan, nearly all fireworks events are in the summer, so this is a rare treat.
You can also find other snow sculptures, lit paths, and food stalls in the park. Concerts are held during the day in various locations in the park.