by Sam, staff writer of japan-guide.com
2017/02/06 - 2017 Otaru Snow Light Path Festival
The Yuki Akari no Michi Festival (Snow Light Path Festival) is one of Hokkaido's most popular winter festivals and, Otaru being only a 45 minute train ride from Sapporo, is convenient to visit in combination with the Sapporo Snow Festival.
The festival, which runs from February 3-12 this year, is always popular, drawing in crowds to see the hundreds of lanterns placed in the snow along the Otaru Canal and lining a section of the old railroad that used to run through the town. The lanterns are lit in the evenings from 17:00 to 21:00 and, alongside the snowy town, create a magical and romantic atmosphere.
The illuminated stretch of the canal was typically packed with visitors. Among the sound of excited chitter chatter was the constant crunch of camera shutters as visitors captured the hundreds of flickering lanterns bobbing on the water and lining the path that runs alongside it. All in all, there was a warm atmosphere and beautiful scenes in this part of the festival.
The Temiyasen festival site along the old train tracks and a short walk from the canal seemed slightly less crowded, but this is probably because the paths are considerably wider in this section. There were lots of people having fun, taking in the lanterns and snow and ice sculptures that stand along the path. As with the canal site, a warm atmosphere prevailed here and if anything, this section was even more intimate and magical.