Saturday, February 23, 2008

Winter in Hokkaido

I love winter. ;)
And especially so in Hokkaido! Cold.... extremely cold, but oh, so beautiful! I remember as I went through the customs check at Narita airport in Tokyo, and the officer asked where I will be heading. I say Hokkaido, and he raised his eyebrow, and said "Very cold there. You know?" I said I know :)


Well, besides being breathtakingly beautiful (and breathtaking cold), there are some festivals worth visiting in winter in Hokkaido. Most famous is its Sapporo Snow and Ice Festival. Most people might have heard of the more famous Snow and Ice Festival in Harbin China. This is something similar, where beautiful ice and snow sculptures and being displayed. Competitions are also being held, where international sculptors would come down to literally "carve out a name" for themselves :)

While Sapporo has several locations which have these sculptures on display, the festival is actually being celebrated in other parts of Hokkaido as well. Cities like Asahikawa and even onsen resorts like Sounkyo also have their versions of the sculpture display. Just goto any tourist information counter and you should be able to find out all the various celebrations around Hokkaido. And when night falls, and the lights go up, it's really pretty everywhere!




Besides the Snow and Ice Festival, there is another beautiful and romantic festival, held only in Otaru. The Otaru Yuki-akari-no-michi (Snow Light Path) Festival. Here, candles will be lighted in ice casings/chalices and placed along the streets as well as the famous Otaru Canal. Mini lighted "boats" (not sure if they're paper) will also be placed in the canal. At night, it is really really pretty! So remember to bring your tripods! Protect yourself adeqately, and you'll really enjoy the place and enjoy your photography!






5 comments:

Tenos said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

looking at your photos,how i wish i didn't miss the sapporo festival by 2 days.
enjoyed the bus ride from akan to abashiri the most.hokkaido is most beautiful in its whiteness and wilderness.
the only photo i really like,happened to be in otaru.
http://travel.zaobao.com/asia/pages/japan241201.html.
romantic place, but two girls backpacking tog makes two very bright energiser light bulbs.=p

fang

Wanderer said...

You may have missed the festival, but I'm sure your time in Hokkaido was still super memorable. Anyway, I think the Otaru Canal lightup is nicer than the Sapporo Festival lightup. As for being light bulbs, the place is so crowded with people anyway, so doesn't matter... :)

Glen Darby said...

Hokkaido is also such an interesting place to be in and I sure envy you for being there. Great ice sculpture you have as well.

Glen Darby said...

Have a Happy New Year and a Prosperous 2012 ahead.