[Snow illumination] Introducing 7 scenic spots to visit in winter in Japan

Do you know any snow light-up spots around Japan? There are many scenic spots in Japan that you want to visit in winter.

It is only during a limited period that you can enjoy Japan’s winter scenery in an atmosphere full of emotion. However, many people may not be familiar with Japan’s spectacular winter scenery spots.

So this time, we’ll be introducing some spectacular spots to visit in winter in Japan, with a focus on snowy illuminations.

■7 scenic spots to visit in winter in Japan

From here, we will introduce in detail 7 scenic spots that you should visit in winter in Japan. We have collected snow light-ups from all over Japan. Also pay attention to the spots that are popular with foreign tourists.


Mysterious light-up “Blue Pond” (Hokkaido)

Shirogane Blue Pond is famous for its blue water surface, and its mysterious illumination is a spectacular sight. The withered larch trees create a fantastic landscape. In the middle of winter, the minimum temperature drops to below 15°, so the pond freezes, creating a white world.

Of course, you can visit during the day, but the blue pond looks even more beautiful when lit up at night. There are also facilities for day trip bathing and lodging nearby. You can enjoy the illuminations while warming yourself at the local hot springs or relaxing at your accommodation.


Winter representative “Sapporo Snow Festival” (Hokkaido)

The Sapporo Snow Festival, Japan’s representative winter festival, is famous. This snow-themed festival is held in Sapporo, Hokkaido, and the concept differs depending on the venue. At the Odori venue, you can admire magnificent snow sculptures. At the Susukino venue, a spectacular world of ice sculptures is unfolding. The Tsudome venue is an experiential snow venue with giant slides and more.

You can enjoy the Sapporo Snow Festival during the day, but the illuminations at night are a sight to behold. You can experience the power of snow and the fantastical world.


Otaru Snow Light Path” popular among foreign tourists (Hokkaido)

Otaru Snow Light Path in Otaru City, Hokkaido is a scenic spot that is popular among foreign tourists. It is a winter tradition handmade by local citizens and has a history of over 20 years. More than 100 floating glass candles floating on the canal are beautiful and create a space where you can feel warmth in the cold. Also, the many candles throughout the city will create a soft and warm atmosphere.

There are seven main venues for Otaru Yukiakariji, which are held throughout Otaru city. It’s not just a snow light-up, it’s a handmade event where citizens and overseas volunteers can participate. It will also be a good opportunity to feel connected with people.


Speaking of winter in Japan, “Shirakawa-go” (Gifu Prefecture)

When you think of winter in Japan, many people think of Shirakawa-go in Gifu Prefecture. Shirakawa-go is a famous spot as a World Heritage Site, and the illuminations held in January and February are also popular. A fantastical world unfolds, with the upside-down gassho-style buildings reflected on the water and the outstanding view from the observation deck. There are also hot drinks available on site, which you can enjoy along with the spectacular view.

The illumination of world heritage sites is an event unique to this time of year. You can see it by staying at accommodations or taking tours. However, please note that advance reservations are required.


Artistic light-up “Misotsuchi Icicle” (Saitama Prefecture)

The illuminated “Misotsuchi Icicle” in Saitama Prefecture is like an artistic landscape. In Oku-Chichibu, where it is extremely cold, icicles are formed when Iwashimizu freezes, and are large natural icicles that can reach up to 8m in height and 30m in width. The icicles created by nature take on a different appearance every year.

The atmosphere of the icicles changes during the day and at night, so you can enjoy both. The illumination at night creates a magical atmosphere, and you can see the icicles even more impressively.


Heartwarming “Tokamachi Snow Festival” (Niigata Prefecture)

The Tokamachi Snow Festival, a warm event unique to the snow country, began in 1951. Tokamachi, Niigata Prefecture, which is known for its heavy snowfall, was born out of the local residents’ desire to “make snow their friend and enjoy it.” It is said to be the birthplace of the modern snow festival, having held Japan’s first snow festival led by residents.

Approximately 40 snow artworks and handmade snowmen are on display, and this event emphasizes connections with the local community. The view of the illuminations at night while receiving the warm hospitality of the residents is a special experience.


Popular snow monster “juhyo light up” (Yamagata Prefecture)

The fantastic “Juhyo Light-up” is held at Zao Onsen Ski Resort. Rime, also known as the “snow monster,” is formed when coniferous fir trees are covered with snow and ice. You can see it using the ropeway, but you can also enjoy it up close by riding a night cruiser. Many foreign tourists come not to ski, but to see the frost-covered trees.

The frost-covered frost illumination is held as part of the “Zao Juhyo Festival” event held at the same time. The local temperature is below -10°, so be sure to dress warmly.


■Snow illuminations across Japan are a limited-time tradition.

All over Japan, snow illuminations are held, which is unique to winter. Although the illumination is limited to areas where it snows, it is a fantastic and beautiful event that is worth seeing. This will further enhance the characteristics and charm of the area.

We also recommend taking a bath in a hot spring when the snow is lit up, or visiting a snow festival. Please enjoy this limited-time winter tradition.


Q. Is there a difference between the Snow Festival and Snow Light Up?
A.The Snow Festival is an event that is held day and night, and various events are held. Snow illumination is an event held at night (after sunset) and is mainly for viewing. Also, illuminations are often held as part of snow festivals.

Q.Is it easy to access the snow light-up venue?
A.It varies by region, but the farther north the city center is, the more likely it is to snow, so events tend to be held closer to the nearest station. On the other hand, in mountainous areas close to the city center, it may take longer to travel.