Igloos, snow hearts, snow mazes and canal side snowman lights – that’s what you can expect at the Otaru Snow Light Path Festival. For ten days in February Otaru lights up and it’s one of the sweetest, most charming, celebrations I’ve ever been to.

I was there on the first day and saw hundreds of people mucking in during daylight to help – making snow castles in buckets like they were on the beach, using cookie cutters to create the star shapes and packing snow to form the awesome snow maze. By the time darkness fell it was all ready and the streets of Otaru looked magical.

Most of the action is along the canal with the water flanked by lit up snow creations and floating lights out on the canal surface. Further up into town there are more snow light sites – one with a snow bar, another with a huge heart for the all important photos.

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I loved the Otaru Snow Path Light Festival – it was cute, quaint, and the perfect way to end my five weeks in Japan. It wasn’t overly commercialised and was one of the best uses of snow I’ve ever seen. In fact, I preferred it to the worldwide hyped Sapporo Snow and Ice Festival. The good news is you can do them both as every year there’s some cross over with dates and Otaru is only a 30-minute train ride from Sapporo.

Looks cool hey?!

Photos from The Sapporo Snow Festival
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