Updated: April 17, 2018
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Otaru Snow Light Path Festival: Japan's Most Beautiful Winter Candle Light Festival

In February, in the small town of Otaru in Hokkaido, is held the Snow Light Path Festival. Thousands upon thousands of candles are lit in the snow every evening across the town. It creates an amazingly peaceful atmosphere and makes for one of Japan's most beautiful winter scenery.

Feb 09, 2018(Fri) - Feb 18, 2018(Sun)
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Otaru Snow Light Path Festival

Picture a charming, old Japanese snow-covered town in the foothills of a mountain, that becomes lit up every evening from 5 PM by the warm glow of candles. This is exactly what Otaru becomes for a few days in February during its unique snow light festival.
There are over 120,000 candles that are placed in historically significant parts of the town. The candles' fire is protected from the wind by hand-made snow walls. Candles placed inside give out a faint, calming light. It requires thousands of volunteers and much preparation prior to the event to make it possible. Every time a gust of wind blows out candles, volunteers relentlessly light them back.
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The concept of the festival is to remind people that we are one with nature. The people of Otaru often say they want the visitors to forget their daily troubles while admiring the beautiful scenery.
Some candles are sometimes placed in decorated jars. The passing of the seasons and the poetry it inspires is a theme people of Otaru express through this festival.
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Organizations unrelated to the festival as well as residents of the city started creating making their own candle displays, making the event even more impressive than it was before. This festival is not a commercial one, it's a celebration of the scenic beauty of winter and community spirit.


The Otaru Snow Light Path Festival coincides with the much bigger Snow Festival of Sapporo. If you're heading to Sapporo to see the famous snow festival the city is famous for, then why not take the opportunity to visit Otaru as well? This light festival is something really worth experiencing as well!

The 2018 edition will be held from February 9th to 18th.
Japanese food culture enthusiast. Love to explore new areas and discover local specialties.

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