Japan has an excellent transportation system that includes airports, Shinkansens (Bullet Trains) and buses. From Tokyo, it is easy to visit many kinds of great winter snow festivals in Japan. These festivals all have food and drinks and they are festive environments that are great for the whole family. Here is a list of Tokyo Accessible Winter Snow Festivals.
Tokyo Accessible Winter Snow Festivals
The Sapporo Snow Festival is located on the northernmost island of Hokkaido. This is the most famous snow festival in Japan and it attracts over two million visitors in February to see the fantastic collection of various kinds of snow and ice sculptures in Sapporo’s city center. This time of the year is very busy and visitors must plan ahead and make reservations or it can be very expensive. Location: 7 Chome Odorinishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo Train Access: Sapporo Station, a few min walk Google Maps
The Asahikawa Winter Festival is the second-largest snow festival in Hokkaido. This snow festival attracts over 1 million visitors every year. This snow festival is held in Asahikawa City and has an impressive display of snow and ice sculptures. There will be many special events and fireworks during the festival. Location: 4044 Tokiwakoen, Asahikawa Train Access: Chuo Bus Sapporo Terminal, 4 Jo 1-chome Bus Stop, 15 min walk Google Maps
The Yunishigawa Onsen Kamakura Festival is located in Nikko and it is one of the closest winter snow festivals near Tokyo. The Kamakura festivals will include many various sizes of Kamakura statues (snow huts) and lanterns. At night the town is lit up with hundreds of Kamakura’s with candles and it is quite a scene. Location: XH6J+M3 Nikko, Tochigi Train Access: None Google Maps
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The Yokote Kamakura Festival is a traditional snow festival, held in Yokote City, Akita Prefecture. The Yokote Kamakura Festival is the biggest Kamakura festival in Japan and it features an endless amount of Kamakura snow huts and lanterns decorating the city. There are also various kinds of large Kamakuras (snow huts) and there are some large ones where visitors can eat and drink in. Location: 8-12 Chuomachi, Yokote, Akita Train Access: Yokote Station, 9 min walk Google Maps
The Tokamachi Snow Festival is an old-style, traditional snow festival, that was started in the same year as Sapporo Snow Festival in 1950. This snow festival features snow and ice sculptures at several locations around the Tokamachi City. This three-day event includes various live performances and special events on a large snow stage, illumination light displays, fireworks and a wide range of food and drinks. Location: 251-17 Asahicho, Tokamachi City, Niigata Train Access: Tokamachi Station, 11 min walk Google Maps
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The Zao Snow Monster Illuminations is located at Zao a popular Onsen and Ski resort in Yamagata Prefecture. It is known for “Snow Monsters” which are not monsters, but trees that have been buried under the snow. These formations are created by heavy snowfall and freezing winds. These monster illuminations are one of Japan’s great natural winter visual experiences. The illuminations are best explored at night with a ride on the Zao Ropeway. The festival also includes Snow Monsters illuminations, ice sculptures, fireworks shows and other events. Location: Zaoonsen, Yamagata Train Access: Zao Onsen Bus Terminal, 18 min walk Google Maps
The Hirosaki Castle Snow Lantern Festival in Aomori is very famous and is one of the biggest winter festivals in the region. There are hundreds of various sized Kamakura snow huts that are lit up with candles. The Hirosaki Castle has colorful illuminations projected onto its walls. This event comes to a conclusion with a fireworks display. Location: 1 Shimoshiroganecho, Hirosaki, Aomori Train Access: Chuohirosaki Station, 18 min walk Google Maps
The Aizu Painted Candle Festival features thousands of beautifully decorated candles. This region has a long history of candle-making that dates back over 500 years. This snow festival has candles that are painted with seasonal decorations and they can be seen at multiple locations around the city. These locations include the Aizu Matsudaira’s Royal Garden and the Tsuruga Castle grounds. Location: 1-9 Otemachi, Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Train Access: Tsurugajo Godochosya-mae, 5 min walk Google Maps
The Ouchijuku Snow Festival is held every year on the second week of February. The city streets are filled with beautifully crafted lanterns that illuminate thatched roofs of the traditional Edo-period buildings. There is a fireworks display that creates a very scenic visual experience with the lanterns and the snow-covered surroundings. Location: Yamamoto Ouchi, Shimogo, Minamiaizu District, Fukushima Train Access: Ouchishimo Station, 3 min walk Google Maps
The Urabandai Snow Festival is a popular snow festival in Fukushima. This snow festival has many snow-related activities and craft workshops that make this event so fun. The organizers place an initial 3,000 candles on a frozen lotus pond, and visitors are encouraged to leave their own candles to contribute to the scenery. Location: Yudairayama-1171-1 Hibara, Kitashiobara, Yama District, Fukushima Train Access: None Google Maps
The Icicles of Misotsuchi Light Up Festival, or Misotsuchi Walter Fall illumination, is held in Chichibu, in the western Saitama Prefecture. This frozen waterfall is considered one of the most spectacular natural winter phenomenons that can be found close to Tokyo. The icicles of Misotsuchi are gigantic, natural icicles that come in various massive sizes and shapes. The icicles and the surrounding snow terrain is lit-up at night, creating a very scenic view. Location: 4066 Otaki, Chichibu, Saitama Train Access: Miyadaira Station, 14 min walk Google Maps
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