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Release | nobu Kawashima

Otaru Snow Light Path Festival 2016, the path of glittering candle lights!

小樽雪あかりの路 小樽運河(写真提供:小樽雪あかりの路 実行委員会)

Don’t you want to walk along the snow light path? The annual event “Otaru Snow Light Path Festival 2016” is from 5th -14th Feb. The famous Otaru Canal is of course, the whole city of Otaru is filled with beautiful and romantic candle lights. 


What is “Otaru Snow Light Path Festival”?

“Otaru Snow Light Path Festival” is the annual festival in Otaru in early February, and 2016 is its 18th year. This event is run by volunteers and citizens of Otaru thus filled with the “warmth” of people.

In 10 days, 1.2 million candles will be lit throughout the city of Otaru. Not only the sightseeing spots such as famous Otaru Canal, but also many local stores, schools, and residential areas create their own snow or ice candles or statues to decorate the city, which further adds to the festival spirit.

There are two main official festival areas; “The Canal Site“ and “Temiya Railway Line Site“, sub main official festival area; “Asarigawa Hot Spring Village Site“, and “The Light Path Site“ for all the other sites.


Wavering lights on the water, “The Canal Site”  

小樽運河の雪あかり▲Snow light path in the Otaru Canal (Photo provided by Otaru Snow Light Path executive committee)

Otaru Canal is the iconic sightseeing spot of Otaru. I think most of the people who visit Otaru for sightseeing visit Otaru Canal. You see Otaru Canal in most of sightseeing pamphlets. 
The snow lights floating on the water, the small snow statues standing along the canal… anywhere is photogenic.

“Heart Monument” on the Asakusabashi bridge is the iconic photo spot, and is located at the end of the canal. It’s a huge snow monument with heart shape, and you can put your face inside the heart. Taking photo from here, you will be able to capture both the heart monument and Otaru Canal.

運河会場のハートのオブジェ▲This is the photo spot! A huge heart monument at The Canal Site (Photo provided by Otaru Snow Light Path executive committee)


The row of snow statues! Artistic “Temiya Railway Line Site”

Between the canal and the Otaru station is “Temiya Railway Line Site”. This is the most popular site together with “The Canal Site”.

“Temiya Railway Line” was the first railway in Hokkaido and it has terminated its role already, but the remaining track became a sightseeing spot now. The dead track is the site and snow statues stand along the both sides of the narrow track.

手宮線会場のスノーキャンドルのオブジェ▲Snow candle statues like art pieces stand along (Photo provided by Otaru Snow Light Path executive committee)

The characteristic of this site is the variety of snow statues.
High school or university students and volunteers from Korea and China creates snow statues as if they are competing the beautifulness. The beautiful wax balls add romantic atmosphere 

手宮線会場のワックスボウルで演出された雪あかりの路▲Numerous wax balls lighten with candles look like a forest made with lights. (Photo provided by Otaru Snow Light Path executive committee)

There is a free resting area in Temiya Railway Line Site, which is a so much help to people walk around outside in freezing winter.


Fantastic combination of candles floating on the river and the warmth of wood, “Asarigawa Hot Spring Village Site”

About 25 minutes by bus from Otaru station or 5 minutes from Satsutaru-do Asari IC by car, there is “Asarigawa Hot Spring Village Site”. This place is famous for attracting tons of photographers.

朝里川温泉会場の朝里川を照らすロウソク▲Lights wave in and around Asarigawa river (Photo provided by Otaru Snow Light Path executive committee)

The must see is the wavering lights of Asarigawa river. Every year, the bridge is filled with numerous cameras. There is also photo spots on the sides of the river, so you are able to capture photos of the floating lights.

日没前後の朝里川温泉会場▲Not only the night but also the twilight time is beautiful as well. You will be able to take pictures from the side of the river. (photo provided by Winkel Village)

With the floating lights in the river, small trails and forests along the river and wooden cottage is also lighten up with candles.

朝里川温泉会場の建物、オブジェに囲まれた雰囲気▲Wooden buildings are surrounded by snow statues and lighten by candle lights. (photo provided by Winkel Village)

There is a resting area called “Snow Light Village” in this site as well. There are many attractions such as the cottage surrounded by nature such as log chair and flowers and Kamakura lighten by candles.


Candles light the whole city, “The Light Path Site”

During the festival, you will see snow candles everywhere in the city of Otaru. Not only the famous sightseeing spots but also shopping streets, residential areas, companies, schools, stations… the locals live there make their own private statues and light the candles.


天狗山の雪あかり▲The snow lights at the peak of Tengu Mountain. The great view of Otaru city is here. (Photo provided by Otaru Snow Light Path executive committee)

小樽港マリーナ付近の雪あかり▲The snow light path in Otaru Port Marina near Wing Bay Otaru. (Photo provided by Otaru Snow Light Path executive committee)

As candles be lighten one by one, the light connects the neighborhood and “light path” will appear.
The candle lights are the trigger to connect the neighborhood and make the interaction with visitors. One of the reasons that “Otaru Snow Light Path” is considered as an event to feel the warmth of people.

Otaru Snow Light Path Festival is the event with candles throughout the city made by hands. How about visiting each unique sites?


Otaru Snow Light Path Festival

Dates: 5th - 14th February 2016, 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Places: Around city of Otaru, such as Otaru Canal, Former Temiya Railway Line, Asarigawa Hot Spring, Tengu Mountain
Tel: 0134-32-4111
Official English Website: Otaru Snow Light Path Official Website

  • Otaru Snow Light Path Festival 2016, the path of glittering candle lights!