Festivals & Events
Asahikawa Winter Festival 旭川冬まつり
A winter wonderland in central Hokkaido
The Asahikawa Winter Festival is Hokkaido's second largest snow festival, featuring impressive snow and ice sculptures, illuminations, fireworks, food stalls and family fun. It runs for a week in early February, usually at the same time as the Sapporo Snow Festival .
- Watching experts carve ornate ice sculptures
- Fifty ice sculptures on Heiwa-dori Street illuminated at night
- Live events held on a massive snow sculpture stage
How to Get There
The festival is held in Asahikawa in central Hokkaido. Accessing it from Sapporo by train is easy.
It takes one hour and 40 minutes to Asahikawa from Sapporo on the JR Lilac-Kamui Line, or one hour and 50 minutes on the JR Okhotsk-Taisetsu Line.
There are free shuttle buses every 20 minutes between Asahikawa station and the Asahibashi snow festival site.
Freezing fun at Asahibashi
There is plenty to do at the main Asahibashi site, from snow slides and zooming around on snowmobiles to drinking at the ice bar. There are also free music concerts on the large stage here, which is part of a huge snow sculpture.
Light up the ice
Along Heiwa-dori Street, the main drag through the city center, you can see about 50 impressive ice sculptures and watch the craftsmen at work during the first few days of the festival. At night, the sculptures are magically illuminated.
A trio of winter festivals
If you're in Sapporo for their famous snow festival, consider hopping on the train eastward to Asahikawa's event. It is less crowded and has a more local feel. Also consider a day trip to Otaru just west of Sapporo, for the enchanting Otaru Snow Light Path .