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The 2024 festival is scheduled to be held from February 10 to 17.

The Otaru Snow Light Path Festival (小樽雪あかりの路, Otaru Yuki Akari no Michi) is a winter festival held every February in Otaru, during which the city becomes decorated in lights and small snow statues. The festival usually runs at a similar time as the nearby Sapporo Snow Festival, making it possible for travelers in Hokkaido to visit both festivals on the same trip.

The combination of the snowy town and the glittering lanterns creates a very pleasant atmosphere. There are two main official festival areas which get lit up daily from 17:00 to 21:00: the Unga Kaijo area and the Temiyasen Kaijo area. In addition, many locals also put lantern displays in front of their shops and residences, which further adds to the festival spirit. The two main areas are both located within a fifteen minute walk of the train station, so travelers can easily enjoy the town's atmosphere on foot.

The Unga Kaijo area is the more famous of the two areas, as it is located along 300 meters of the town's iconic Otaru Canal (Otaru Unga). The restored warehouses and gas lamps along the canal make for a romantic setting, and the canal itself is covered with small buoys that hold candles. Along the path beside the water there is a row of small snow statues that also hold candles. The canal is about a ten minute walk from Otaru Station along the main road leading from the station.

Between the canal and the train station is the Temiyasen Kaijo area, which stretches for about half a kilometer along the tracks of the abolished Temiyasen railway line. During the festival, the pleasant pathway gets lined by many lanterns and illuminated snow statues, as well as a few food stands.

Getting there and around

The Unga Kaijo area beside Otaru Canal is a ten minute walk straight down the main road from Otaru Station, while the Temiyasen Kaijo area lies about half way between the station and the canal, running parallel to the canal.

How to get to and around Otaru

Hotels around Otaru

Top rated in Otaru
Budget:
    • The Otaornai Backpacker's Hostel Morinoki
      Budget-friendly
      Otaornai Backpacker's Hostel Morinoki is for free and independent travelers in Hokkaido Otaru. No good for small group or family. It is just 1.4 km away from Otaru Station and a 3-minute walk to Suitengu Temple. Otaru Canal is a 10-minute walk away. This hostel are only shared dormitory rooms. No private room. It has a free-use kitchen, a terrace and free Wi-Fi. All rooms are non-smoking. 30 steps to reach entrance. No elevator. Simple heated rooms with shared bathrooms and toilets are provided at this hostel. Slippers are included, and a fan is used for cooling in warm weather. But There is no air conditioning (cooler) facility. Guests can enjoy the garden, read books and comics at the lounge or enjoy sightseeing in Otaru. The hostel has a cat and a dog. No Meals, No Cafe, No Bar, No Restaurant, No Hot Springs, No Vending Machines, No Air Conditioning, No TV, No pick-up service.
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    • Home Yasuda
      Budget-friendly
      Situated in Otaru, Home Yasuda is a sustainable accommodation, 4.1 km from Otaru Station and 18 km from Otarushi Zenibako City Center. Each accommodation at the 1-star homestay has quiet street views, and guests can enjoy access to a hot tub. Free WiFi is available and private parking can be arranged at an extra charge. The homestay offers a flat-screen TV and a shared bathroom with slippers, free toiletries and shower. A microwave and fridge are also available, as well as a kettle. At the homestay, each unit has bed linen and towels. Sapporo Station is 36 km from the homestay, while Shin-Sapporo Station is 48 km from the property. The nearest airport is Okadama Airport, 38 km from Home Yasuda.
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      9.1Booking.com
    • Opopo home 竜宮店
      Budget-friendly
      A sustainable property, Opopo home 竜宮店 is situated in Otaru near Otaru Station, Otaru Canal Park and Otaru Museum. With free WiFi, this 1-star guest house offers luggage storage space and a shared lounge. The guest house has family rooms. A terrace with mountain view, a cable flat-screen TV and air conditioning are available in some units. Otarushi Zenibako City Center is 18 km from the guest house, while Sapporo Station is 36 km from the property. The nearest airport is Okadama Airport, 38 km from Opopo home 竜宮店.
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      9.0Booking.com
    • Ryo An
      Luxury
      Ryo An is located in Otaru, within 17 km of Otarushi Zenibako City Center and 35 km of Sapporo Station. This 4-star hotel offers free WiFi. The property is non-smoking and is set 400 metres from Otaru Station. All guest rooms come with air conditioning, a fridge, a microwave, a kettle, a bidet, free toiletries and a desk. The private bathroom is fitted with a shower, a hairdryer and slippers. At the hotel the rooms come with bed linen and towels. Shin-Sapporo Station is 48 km from Ryo An, while Otaru Canal Park is 1.7 km from the property. The nearest airport is Okadama Airport, 38 km from the accommodation.
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      8.8Booking.com
    • UNWIND HOTEL & BAR OTARU
      Mid-range
      Situated in Otaru, 800 metres from Otaru Station, UNWIND HOTEL & BAR OTARU features accommodation with a terrace, private parking, a restaurant and a bar. The 3-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with a private bathroom and free WiFi. The property is non-smoking and is set 17 km from Otarushi Zenibako City Center. The rooms at the hotel are fitted with a flat-screen TV and a safety deposit box. At UNWIND HOTEL & BAR OTARU rooms come with bed linen and towels. Sapporo Station is 35 km from the accommodation, while Shin-Sapporo Station is 48 km from the property. The nearest airport is Okadama Airport, 37 km from UNWIND HOTEL & BAR OTARU.
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    • Little Barrel
      Budget-friendly
      Set in Otaru, 1.5 km from Otaru Station, Little Barrel offers accommodation with a garden and private parking. This 1-star hostel offers a shared kitchen, a shared lounge and free WiFi. The property is non-smoking and is located 17 km from Otarushi Zenibako City Center. The rooms are equipped with a shared bathroom with a hairdryer, while some boast sea views. Sapporo Station is 35 km from the hostel, while Shin-Sapporo Station is 47 km from the property. The nearest airport is Okadama Airport, 37 km from Little Barrel.
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      8.6Booking.com
    • Otaru Tap Room & Hostel
      Budget-friendly
      Otaru Tap Room & Hostel is located in Otaru, within 17 km of Otarushi Zenibako City Center and 35 km of Sapporo Station. Featuring a bar, the 1-star hostel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a shared bathroom. The property is non-smoking and is situated 800 metres from Otaru Station. All rooms in the hostel are fitted with a kettle. The rooms have bed linen. Shin-Sapporo Station is 48 km from Otaru Tap Room & Hostel, while Otaru Canal Park is 800 metres from the property. The nearest airport is Okadama Airport, 38 km from the accommodation.
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    • Dormy Inn Premium Otaru
      Mid-range
      Just a minute away from Otaru station on the JR Hakodate Line, Dormy Inn Premium offers air-conditioned rooms with free internet access, a flat-screen TV and refrigerator. Facilities at Dormy Inn Premium Otaru include natural hot spring baths and a sauna. Coin-operated washing machine, public computer with free internet access in the lobby and a 24-hour front desk are available. Guests can enjoy a buffet breakfast of Japanese and western dishes daily.
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    • Hotel Torifito Otaru Canal
      Mid-range
      Featuring 3-star accommodation, Hotel Torifito Otaru Canal is situated in Otaru, 700 metres from Otaru Station and 17 km from Otarushi Zenibako City Center. Boasting a 24-hour front desk, this property also provides guests with a restaurant. Free WiFi is available and private parking can be arranged at an extra charge. The hotel will provide guests with air-conditioned rooms with a desk, a kettle, a fridge, a safety deposit box, a TV and a private bathroom with a bidet. At Hotel Torifito Otaru Canal the rooms have bed linen and towels. Sapporo Station is 35 km from the accommodation, while Shin-Sapporo Station is 48 km from the property. The nearest airport is Okadama Airport, 38 km from Hotel Torifito Otaru Canal.
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    • Winkel Village
      Budget-friendly
      Within a 10-minute walk from Asari Ski Resort, Winkel Village features cosy apartments and cottages, all with a terrace and mountain views. It features a ski school and a shop. Apartments and freestanding wooden cottages feature heating, a fully equipped kitchen and a bathroom with a bathtub. All are equipped with a TV, while apartments boast a private open-air hot spring bath, however not for cottages. Guests sleep on Japanese futon bedding on the bedroom floor. There are 2 types of rooms.Village Winkel offers rentals of sporting goods, board games and barbecue equipment that can be used on the guests' private terrace. Guests can go hiking or fishing in the area, and there is a tennis court on a 5-minute drive. Hotel Winkel Village is a 15-minute drive from Otaru Ferry Terminal and Otaru Unga Canal, and a 40-minute drive from Kiroro Snow World.
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