Every year on February, every snow-covered street in Otaru is glowed by the waving lights of millions of little candles It is the sign showing Otaru Snow Light Path Festival has already started.
Otaru Snow Light Path Festival or Otaru Yuki Akari no Michi is popular snow festival in Hokkaido. It began in 1999 with the simple idea, wanting people who visit this festival feel easy, think about things leisurely, have time to reflect themselves and forget a little of their bothersome. Even time has passed, this concept doesn’t change.
Before the festival begins, the volunteers from China and Korea and the locals spontaneously work together to support the festival. “Making by their hand” is their concept since the beginning. They both dig a various side of holes to put candles in and place candles on the different shape of ice and snow. Every night during the festival, they have to relight every candle when they blow out.
The Otaru Canal
In the past, Otaru canal has an important role in the Hokkaido’s development but now it is the most famous attraction. During the Snow Light Festival, the floating glasses of little candles sparkle on the canal. Along the canal, different shape of snow and ice and the candles are put along the canal and on the Asakusabashi Bridge. Millions waving lights set off the magical and festive atmosphere.
Former Temiya Railway Line
Temiya Railway Line is the third oldest railway in Japan. In the past, there’s a train carrying coal and dream of Hokkaido’s development using this railway. But now, the train is finished running. There’re left only the precious memory and the silence without the rumbling sound of the train. Temiya Railway is the best place to reflect yourself.
Asarigawa Hot Spring Village
Asarigawa Hot Spring Village situated in the city boundary is popular for its wonderful hot springs and skiing and skateboarding place. This village is another great spot of snow light called ‘the River Site.’ There you’ll see the marvellous scene of the candles placed on the snow covered stone on the river.
Except from three main zones, every street and place in Otaru are also illuminated by the lights of the private candles that Otaru people place on.