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Sam's Japan Travel Journal
by Sam, staff writer of

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2017/02/06 - 2017 Otaru Snow Light Path Festival

Looking along the Otaru Canal at the floating lanterns and crowds

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.

Visitors taking photos of some of the elaborate candle holders
Cameras at the ready
Some candles are housed in ice
The candles are replaced by festival workers
The path along the canal was quite crowded
There were a couple of vendors around selling drinks and snacks
Frozen flowers

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.

A magical atmosphere
Getting up close
A small snow maze with a warm, intimate atmosphere
Mood lighting
Beautiful pieces of ice art
Careful not to slip!
Frolicking in the snow
There was food available in this part of the festival, too
Drawings in the snow to commemorate the old railroad
Some of the lanterns looked like planets

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List of Posts:

2017/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2017
2017/10/16 - Getting lost in rural Japan
2017/07/27 - On the road in Tohoku: Driving through Miyagi and Yamagata
2017/06/22 - Mount Shirane reopens for exploration
2017/05/30 - Exploring Nikko
2017/04/27 - Wisteria Watching at Ashikaga Flower Park
2017/04/24 - Nemophila flowers at Hitachi Seaside Park
2017/02/21 - Tokyo Early Spring Update
2017/02/16 - Renovations start at Kiyomizudera's main hall
2017/02/09 - Crane Watching in Kushiro
2017/02/07 - 2017 Asahikawa Winter Festival
2017/02/06 - 2017 Otaru Snow Light Path Festival
2017/02/06 - 2017 Sapporo Snow Festival
2017/01/16 - Early Blooming in Atami

2016/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2016
2016/09/13 - Walking the Roots of Japan
2016/07/28 - Hakone Update
2016/04/26 - Tonami Tulip Fair 2016
2016/04/19 - Kyoto Railway Museum