| Hokkaido

Enjoy the Beauty of the white illumination!

As winter approaches, Sapporo City (札幌) decorates with colorful light art for the Sapporo white illumination.
The tradition started in Odori Park in 1981. Every year the number of visitors has increased.
Today it is a very popular event for the residents of Hokkaido. The beautiful lighting helps you to forget about the cold.
In addition to Odori park Eki-mae and Minami 1-Jo Dori streets are decorated with glittering lights. It creates a romantic scene where the memories of beautiful bright lights and keeping warm on a cold winter night will stay with you for a long while.


The combination of the neon, normal city lights and the special winter illumination is amazing!

The winter festival is held in 3 Venues: Odori Park, Center station, three South first street.
Odori Park is the main location. It is the best place to see the large scale light sculptures.. The park is section into areas called chomes. The light sculptures are in chome 1-4.

Eki-mae and Minami 1-Jo Dori streets are decorated with LED street trees. The streets form a cross with Eki-mae from JR Sapporo station in the south extending North to the Susukino intersection. And Minami 1-Jo Nishi extending East to West from 1-Chome to 3-Chome.
The combined winter illumination lights, regular city lighting and the colorful neon lights emitted from the buildings in the center of the town create a fantastic atmosphere. People are also impressed with the glow of the Sapporo TV towers. They are a nice accent in the overall effect.

The Sapporo white illumination has grown in popularity over the last 30 years!

The illumination event started from only 1048 lights in 1981. By 2015, the Sapporo white illuminations reached 520000 bright bulbs. The event’s organizers said they wanted to “birth a celebration” that would bring a unique light to the beginning of winter.” Originally held only in Odori Park 2,chome. The event had a very small, modest beginning. However, after 30 years in the hearts of many people this unique event that combines music, original illumination and the beautiful white winter snow, achieved much popularity, success and growth.

Odori Park site began a 3-year renovation that started in 2015. In that first year they added the Hot Square venue which offers places for eating and resting.

The lights create a warm glowing atmosphere!

“The city of Sapporo is decorated in light, every year starting from the end of November. Odori Park closes on Christmas day but Eki-mae and Minami 1-Jo Dori streets remain lit into February and March..
The winter event has “opened up” the town center, and created a more lively atmosphere.

Photos: Sapporo sightseeing photo library

The Sapporo Snow festival reproduces the Christmas celebration of the city of Munich, Germany. The two events are considered sister cities Festivals. Besides the illumination light on the storefronts there are more shining ornament decorations and the authentic taste of German wine to enjoy. Sapporo Snow Festival also celebrates with glamorous lighting along Eki-mae and Minami 1-Jo Dori streets.

Picture perfect!

There are many beautiful scenes to see and use for the perfect background for a photo. Two of the scenes you may want to use are the illumination Gate at 1-chome and the Crystal River at 3-Chome.
Illumination gate is a gate shimmering in white lights, surrounded by red spruce trees with illumination of red hearts. Crystal River is a river of lights. It is a dynamic blue wave of sparkling lights.
Either of these locations makes an excellent scene for your photo! However, you can expect long lines at these popular photo locations.
In addition, the Sapporo TV Tower observation deck makes a good backdrop for your photo. There are so many decorations and lights of different colors and shapes, Take your time and find the best background for your photo.

Smart tip
  • The new venues 4-and 5-Chome were built in 2015. Hot 5-Hot Square meals and drinks are available now!
  • The lights are lit at 4:30 PM lit. Savor the special moments as the lights go on.
  • At the 5-chomelocation there are various workshops. You can do many interesting things, like learn to make reusable shopping bags. It is free to join in any of the workshops.
What's interesting

The lights are kept burning by diesel engines fueled with used tempura oil. This makes this an eco-conscious event that not only has beautiful lighting it also celebrates the beauty of the Earth's natural environment.