The Otaru Snow Light Path began in 1999 and enjoys
about 500,000 visitors during the 10 days it lasts in the
second week of February. This event occurs at the same
time as the Sapporo Snow Festival, but if you are looking
for a relaxing snow activity then this is the one to go to.
The organizers want visitors to feel at ease and relax
surrounded by the glow of the candlelight. They want
people to forget the problems of their everyday life and
reflect on themselves with a clear mind. The lanterns for
the Snow Light Path Festival are all made by hand with
the help of volunteers that are both local international.
They work to relight the candles throughout the area. The
candles are lit from 17:00 to 21:00 daily during the 10
days. They say the festival provides a nice romantic
atmosphere so it would be great to bring your loved one
The Otaru Snow Light Path has two main areas to visit. The Unga Kaijo and Temiyasen Kaijo are within 15 minutes of each other so it is possible to go to both the areas. The Unga Kaijo is by the Otaru canal and covers about 300 meters’ worth of street. This area has gas lamps lining up against the canal with restored warehouses, which are either restaurants, shops, cafes, workshops etc. Not only is the Unga Kaijo decorated with the handmade lanterns, but the canal is also adorned with candles. It adds to the romantic effect. Unga Kaijo is a 10-minute walk from Otaru station along the main road. The other area you can go to is in between train station and Otaru Canal called Temiyasen Kaijo. This is where the tracks of the abolished Temiyasen railway line and covers about half a kilometer. Here there are different pathways you can experience including the snow tunnel, which is illuminated by many candles. However, these are not the only areas where you can see snow lanterns and statues. Another site to visit is the Asariawa Hot Spring Village Site on the outskirts, it is referred to as “The River Site.”