Yuki Akari no Michi - Otaru's Snow and Light Path Festival 小樽雪あかりの路

The Candle Festival, a resplendent event

For twenty years, in the heart of winter, the small port town of Otaru to the west of Sapporo has adorned itself with its most beautiful finery (traditional lanterns, candles, illuminated ice sculptures) for its festival of the path of light and of snow. What would you say to joining the 500,000 visitors who take part each year in this enchantment of light?

  • The Otaru Canal Area or Unga Kaijô (運河会場)

The canal zone is undoubtedly the most popular in Yuki Akari no Michi!

Built in 1923 for the transport of goods, the Otaru Canal initially covered a distance of 1,140 meters . Half filled in after the Second World War, it is now a pleasant place to walk with retro charm . The old large brick and local stone warehouses have in fact been preserved and transformed into restaurants. These old buildings on the edge of the water lit by pretty gas lamps attract many tourists all year round in search of the picturesque.

For the festival, small hollow glass balls containing a candle are placed on the water. These glass globes called ukidama originally had a different purpose. The latter were indeed used by fishermen as floats to keep fishing nets on the surface. Designed in an Otaru glass factory around 1900 to replace the pieces of wood or bamboo used until then, this specificity of Otaru then spread throughout the archipelago. Although ukidama are no longer used for fishing today, the city continues to honor this local product during the festival. Thus for ten days, these lights flicker with the waves, offering a particularly romantic setting.


The retro charm of the Otaru Canal


Address, timetable & access

  • Address

  • Timetable

    30 min by train from Sapporo. From Otaru Station, the festival sites are a 10-minute walk away.
  • Price

  • Access

    From February 8 to 16, 2020 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Website


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