Held at the same time as Sapporo’s Snow Festival is nearby city Otaru’s Snow Light Path Festival (Yuki Akari no Michi).
Just a 30-minute train ride away, this beautifully preserved harbor town is well worth the day trip especially at this time of the year.
After dark, the snowy city of Otaru becomes alive when the lanterns and small snow sculptures are lighted,
illuminating the town and the canal area in an intimate way.
The town, though touristy, evokes an interesting piece of Hokkaido history that starts with its canal that runs through Otaru. Once a central part of the city’s busy port, Otaru’s canal was built to allow small ships to transport goods to the warehouses.
The canal was no longer of use when modern docking facilities have been constructed. The storehouses that line the canal has since been restored and turned into museums, shops, and restaurants. The canal is likewise adorned with Victorian-style street lamps that make for a beautiful stroll day or night.
A little more of Otaru from my lens:
Otaru is 30 minutes by train via the Japan Rail from Sapporo Station.