Hyoto, meaning ice pillars in Japanese, attract around 200,000 visitors every year at the Hyoto Festival at Lake Shikotsu in Chitose. Other ice festivals showcase elaborately carved ice, but the sculptures here are created by spraying water and allowing it to freeze, lending a particular natural beauty to the massive creations.
There are many activities you can enjoy at the festival: ride the ice slides, view a fireworks display or traditional taiko drum performance, and even watch people getting married at the sculptures. During the daytime, the lake ice is a beautiful shade of blue, known locally as “Shikotsuko blue,” and at night the area is illuminated in a mesmerizing range of colors.
When you've had enough of the cold, thaw out in the steaming waters of the Shikotsu Onsen Resort on the eastern shore of the lake.
Shikotsu Onsen is a 55-minute bus ride from Chitose Station. Visitors coming from New Chitose Aiport should drive or take a taxi; the journey takes about 40 minutes.
Held from late January to mid-February.
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