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The 2023 Winter Festival is scheduled for February 7-12.

The Asahikawa Winter Festival (旭川冬まつり, Asahikawa Fuyu Matsuri) is Hokkaido's second largest winter festival after Sapporo's Snow Festival. The festival takes place over a week in early February, about the same time as the Sapporo Snow Festival. Hence, it is possible for winter visitors to visit both festivals on the same trip as the two cities are only an 80 minute train ride apart from each other.

While Asahikawa may not be able to boast having Hokkaido's biggest winter festival, it certainly has one of the biggest snow sculptures. Every year one massive sculpture is made as a stage for music and other performances. The giant sculpture of a Korean fortress in 1994 even made into the book of Guinness World Records as the largest snow construction built. The giant sculpture has a different theme each year, such as a snowman castle in 2010 or the Daisetsuzan Mountains in 2011.

The giant snow sculpture is located in the riverside Asahibashi Site, one of two festival sites, that is named after nearby Asahibashi Bridge. Other attractions found at this festival site vary from year to year, but usually include several smaller snow sculptures, snow slides, snowmobile rides, horse drawn sleigh rides and an ice bar. The Asahibashi Site also serves as the location for the festival's opening and closing ceremonies, both of which usually include a fireworks show.

The festival's second site is the Heiwa Dori pedestrian street, which leads over roughly one kilometer from Asahikawa Station to the vicinity of the Asahibashi Site. About 50 ice sculptures are displayed there, to be judged in an ice sculpture competition. For the first few days of the festival the sculptors can be seen at work, after which the sculptures are left on display. The sculptures look particularly attractive during the evening when they are illuminated.

Getting there and around

The Heiwa Dori pedestrian zone leads from Asahikawa Station for about one kilometer through the center of town. From its end, it is about a 10-15 minute walk to the festival's Asahibashi Site by foot. Alternatively, there are free shuttle buses that run about every 30 minutes between Asahikawa Station and the Asahibashi Site during the festival.

How to get to and around Asahikawa

Hotels around Asahikawa

Top rated in Asahikawa
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    • Asahikawa Ride
      Budget-friendly
      Featuring free WiFi and a shared lounge, Asahikawa Ride offers accommodation in Asahikawa, 10 km from Asahiyama Zoo and 600 metres from Tokiwa Park. Around 600 metres from Asahikawa Museum of Art, the property is also close to Asahikawa Science Center. Local points of interest like Kaguraoka Park and Ayako Miura Literature Museum are reachable within 2.3 km and 2.3 km, respectively. All rooms in the guest house are fitted with kitchenette with a kettle, microwave and toaster. Each bed in the dormitory rooms has a reading light and socket. A safety deposit box is provided for each guest. There are storage facilities including ski and snowboard equipment. Guests at Asahikawa Ride will be able to enjoy activities in and around Asahikawa, like skiing, cycling and mountain climbing. The guest house staff can assist guests with local information and tourist destinations. Sutaruhin Stadium is 2.1 km from the accommodation. The nearest airport is Asahikawa Airport, 13 km from Asahikawa Ride.
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    • Mimatsuso Ryokan
      Budget-friendly
      Offering affordable Japanese-style accommodations, Mimatsuso Ryokan is a 5-minute drive on the free shuttle from JR Asahikawa Train Station. Traditional souvenirs such as origami and bookmarks are offered to guests for free. Free Wi-Fi is available. The air-conditioned rooms feature tatami (woven-straw) floors and Japanese futon bedding. Yukata robes, a TV and a trouser press are included in each. Bathrooms and toilets are shared. Guests can store food in the shared fridge and use the free-use launderette. Japanese meals are served at the shared dining room. Guests can reserve a private dining room, which has a capacity of up to 4 people. Ryokan Mimatsuso is a 10-minute walk from Tokiwa Park and a 30-minute drive from Asahiyama Zoo. Various shopping malls are within a 5-minute walk from the Ryokan.
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    • 9 C Hotel Asahikawa
      Budget-friendly
      Situated in Asahikawa and with Chomin Center reachable within 25 km, 9 C Hotel Asahikawa features a shared lounge, non-smoking rooms, free WiFi throughout the property and a bar. The property is set 37 km from Kusawakebosai Center, 47 km from Azumamachi Hall and 2 km from Kaguraoka Park. At the hotel, rooms are equipped with a desk, a TV, a shared bathroom, bed linen and towels. The rooms will provide guests with a fridge. Guests at 9 C Hotel Asahikawa can enjoy an Asian breakfast. The reception at the accommodation can provide tips on the area. Popular points of interest near 9 C Hotel Asahikawa include Asahikawa Yojo Station, Ayako Miura Literature Museum and Tokiwa Park. The nearest airport is Asahikawa Airport, 15 km from the hotel.
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    • JR Inn Asahikawa
      Mid-range
      Open from March 2015, JR Inn Asahikawa offers simple accommodation directly connected to JR Asahikawa Station. A public bath and laundry facilities are available on site. Free WiFi is provided throughout the property. Featuring a minimalistic design, all rooms are fitted with original pillows and a flat-screen TV. Shower facilities are provided in all rooms, while only some rooms come with a bathtub. Asahikawa JR Inn is a 35-minute drive or airport limousine ride from Asahikawa Airport. Asahiyama Zoo is a 30-minute drive away. There is an Aeon shopping centre adjacent to the hotel. The hotel offers various facilities and services including free luggage storage. Parking is available on site for a fee. A buffet breakfast is available at the on-site restaurant.
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    • Y's Hotel Asahikawa Ekimae
      Mid-range
      Located 25 km from Chomin Center, Y's Hotel Asahikawa Ekimae offers 3-star accommodation in Asahikawa and has a restaurant. This 3-star hotel offers luggage storage space. The hotel features a sauna, a 24-hour front desk and free WiFi throughout the property. The hotel will provide guests with air-conditioned rooms offering a desk, a kettle, a fridge, a safety deposit box, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a bidet. At Y's Hotel Asahikawa Ekimae every room comes with bed linen and towels. Guests at the accommodation can enjoy a buffet breakfast. Popular points of interest near Y's Hotel Asahikawa Ekimae include Ayako Miura Literature Museum, Asahikawa Yojo Station and Tokiwa Park. The nearest airport is Asahikawa Airport, 15 km from the hotel.
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    • HOTEL AMANEK Asahikawa
      Mid-range
      Featuring 3-star accommodation, HOTEL AMANEK Asahikawa is set in Asahikawa, 37 km from Kusawakebosai Center and 48 km from Azumamachi Hall. With a restaurant, the 3-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi. The property is non-smoking and is located 25 km from Chomin Center. At the hotel, every room is equipped with a desk and a flat-screen TV. At HOTEL AMANEK Asahikawa each room includes bed linen and towels. A buffet, American or Asian breakfast is available daily at the property. Around the clock assistance is available at the reception, where staff speak English and Japanese. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Tokiwa Park, Asahikawa Yojo Station and Ayako Miura Literature Museum. The nearest airport is Asahikawa Airport, 15 km from HOTEL AMANEK Asahikawa.
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    • Hotel WBF Grande Asahikawa
      Mid-range
      Featuring 3-star accommodation, Hotel WBF Grande Asahikawa is set in Asahikawa, 25 km from Chomin Center and 37 km from Kusawakebosai Center. With a restaurant, the 3-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a private bathroom. The hotel has a sauna and a 24-hour front desk. At the hotel, the rooms include a desk and a flat-screen TV. Hotel WBF Grande Asahikawa offers some units with mountain views, and every room is equipped with a kettle. At the accommodation all rooms are fitted with bed linen and towels. A buffet, American or Asian breakfast can be enjoyed at the property. Hotel WBF Grande Asahikawa offers 3-star accommodation with a hot spring bath and spa centre. Popular points of interest near the hotel include Ayako Miura Literature Museum, Asahikawa Yojo Station and Kaguraoka Park. The nearest airport is Asahikawa Airport, 14 km from Hotel WBF Grande Asahikawa.
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    • Asahikawa Sun Hotel
      Mid-range
      A 6-minute walk from JR Asahikawa Train Station, Sun Hotel has massage services and a Japanese/Western restaurant. Free WiFi, high-speed wired internet access, a private bathroom and an LCD TV are provided in all rooms. The air-conditioned rooms at Asahikawa Sun Hotel are modern and simply furnished with a desk, a trouser press and a mini-fridge. Instant coffee, green tea bags and slippers are provided. Asahiyama Zoo is a 30-minute drive away, and Nagayama Shrine is about a 30-minute train trip from the hotel. A coin launderette and a free-use microwave are on site, and vending machines offer beer and soft drinks. The 24-hour reception can keep luggage and store valuables for guests. Restaurant Jurin serves a set-menu Western or Japanese breakfast for a fee, and is also open for dinner. Breakfast must be ordered at least 1 day in advance.
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    • Dormy Inn Asahikawa
      Mid-range
      Dormy Inn Asahikawa is a 10-minute walk from JR Asahikawa Train Station. It offers modern accommodation with a large public hot-spring bath and free in-room wired internet. Guestrooms offer both air conditioning and heating facilities. Each room is equipped with a fridge, an electric kettle with green tea, and a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. A humidifier and a trouser press are also provided. Guests can enjoy a relaxing bath at the natural hot spring bath located on the hotel’s top floor. Sauna facilities are also available. Other facilities include a coin-operated laundrette. Complimentary Japanese Yonaki (Ramen) noodles are available from 21:30-23:00 on a first-come, first-served basis. Hot coffee is also served from 15:00-23:00 to guests arriving to the property. Asahikawa Dormy Inn is a 40-minute drive from Asahiyama Zoo and about a 10-minute drive to Kamikawa Shrine.
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    • Hotel Wing International Asahikawa Ekimae
      Mid-range
      Situated 25 km from Chomin Center, Hotel Wing International Asahikawa Ekimae offers 3-star accommodation in Asahikawa and has a restaurant. Featuring a shared lounge, the 3-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a private bathroom. The accommodation features a 24-hour front desk and luggage storage space for guests. All rooms in the hotel are fitted with a flat-screen TV. At Hotel Wing International Asahikawa Ekimae the rooms have bed linen and towels. Guests at the accommodation can enjoy a buffet or an American breakfast. Popular points of interest near Hotel Wing International Asahikawa Ekimae include Tokiwa Park, Asahikawa Yojo Station and Ayako Miura Literature Museum. The nearest airport is Asahikawa Airport, 15 km from the hotel.
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