20 of the Best Festivals to Attend in Hokkaido!
The vast Hokkaido is rich in nature and here all year round, they have many events and festivals to celebrate their resources and history. This is one prefecture not to be missed with all its interesting local events!
Oct 29 2015 (Aug 16 2019)
1. Sapporo Snow Festival
This is probably the biggest festival in the whole prefecture and it is held right in Sapporo City every year in the beginning of February! During this major festival, Odori Park is decorated with all sort of ice sculptures from cute small ones to big towering ones. You might need to calm your beating heart when you are here to witness some that are as high as 10m!
HP: www.snowfes.com/t/index.html (Chinese)
HP: www.snowfes.com/ (Japanese)
Address: 2 to 4 Odorinishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo City, Hokkaido (Google Map)
2. YOSAKOI Soran Festival
The festival before this was in winter but if we were talking about the biggest festival in summer here, it would have to be the YOSAKOI Soran Festival! This festival is held sometime in June. It's a lively dance parade, where the dancers dress in Yukatas or Happi coats. This is probably a dance parade that you won't be able to find elsewhere in the world, as it something that has been carried on for many generations.
HP: www.yosakoi-soran.jp/ (Japanese)
Address:2 to 4 Odorinishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo City, Hokkaido (Google Map)
3. Kotohira Shrine Festival
This amazing parade of colors is held every year on August 9 at Nemuro's Kotohira Shrine. The parade brings a portable shrine called Mikoshi around town. The Mikoshi may be portable but it is actually big and heavy! Come witness the strength and courage of local men here during this colorful lively parade!
HP: www.nemuro-kankou.com/events/kotohira.html (Japanese)
Address: 1-4 Kotohiracho, Nemuro, Hokkaido (Google Map)
4. Ubagami Shrine Festival
This festival that has a long history in Japan is considered as one of the 3rd biggest and grandest festival in Japan. The Mikoshi here is all too magnificent and it is a recognized treasure in Hokkaido.
HP: www.hokkaido-esashi.jp/modules/sightseeing/content0028.html (Japanese)
Address: Esashi, Hiyama District, Hokkaido (Google Map)
5. Yotaka Andon Festival
Yotaka Andon Festival is one of the 3 grandest festival in Hokkaido and it is one of the summer festivals to attend at the end of August. It is held every year at Numata. You will be awed at the number of floats here that are lit up. It's a sight to behold and the floats are made to represent many traditional and cultural aspects of Japan.
Address: Numata, Uryu District, Hokkaido (Google Map)
6. Shiretoko Shari Neputa
In Japan, the Neputa Festival is famous in Aomori. The festival caught on in Hokkado as their own version, Shiretoko Shari Neputa. Just like Aomori's Neputa, the Shiretoko Shari Neputa in Hokkaido is a parade of grand and beautiful floats that will take your breath away.
HP: www.shiretoko.asia/ (Japanese)
Address: Shari, Hokkaido (Google Map)
7. Yakumo Andon Festival
This is one one Hokkaido's top 3 biggest Andon Festivals. The Yakumo Andon Festival is held in Yakumo and it is a festival that celebrates children and youth. The whole town comes to live during the festival and you can't help but feel how close the town folks are from this festival.
HP: www.yakumo-dashi.com/ (Japanese)
Address: Yakumo, Futami District, Hokkaido (Google Map)
8. Otaru Snow Light Path Festival
This pretty and whimsical festival is held at the popular town, Otaru that is an hour away from Sapporo. The whole town is lit up with beautiful snow sculptures at night and you would feel like you have stepped into a magical scene in some fairytale. This is one of Hokkaido's top 3 winter festivals that you cannot miss!
HP: otaru.yukiakarinomichi.org/ (Japanese)
Address: Otaru, Hokkaido (Google Map)
9. Asahikawa Winter Festival
Asahikawa is located at the northern part of Hokkaido, and every year in February, Asahikawa will hold a grand winter festival called Asahikawa Winter Festival. The big festival grounds are decorated with grand magnificent snow sculptures that will leave you in awe! They also have one massive snow sculpture that has made its way to the Guinness Book of Records!
HP: www.city.asahikawa.hokkaido.jp/files/kankou/awf/ (Japanese)
Address: Showa-Dori, Asahikawa, Hokkaido (Google Map)
10. Hakodate Christmas Fantasy
Hakodate, a fishing harbor in Hokkaido, is beautifully decorated during Christmas. The whole town celebrates a Christmas event called Hakodate Christmas Fantasy, and many couples take the opportunity to enjoy the romantic mood. There is a huge Christmas Tree that stands tall at 10m!
HP: www.hakodatexmas.com/ (Japanese Only)
Address: Suehirocho, Hakodate, Hokkaido (Google Map)
11. Kachimai Fireworks Festival
Like all fireworks in Japan, Kachimai Fireworks Festival is held in the middle of August every year. This fireworks festival is the biggest in Hokkaido with 20,000 beautiful shots in the sky. This is one of the many festivals up north that will give you a memorable experience on how Japan celebrates the summer season in style.
HP: www.tokachi.co.jp/hanabi/ (Japanese Only)
Address: Higashi 15 Jominami, Obihiro, Hokkaido (Google Map)
12. Hokkaido Shrine Festival
This festival is a very important one for the whole prefecture as it has more than 1 century's worth of history and culture because parade participants dress up in traditional costumes that replicate the good old Heian period. It is organized by Hokkaido Shrine, and is also fondly known as Sapporo Festival.
HP: www.welcome.city.sapporo.jp/event/summer/hokkaido_shrine_festival/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 474 Miyagaoka, Chuo Ward, Sapporo City, Hokkaido (Google Map)
13. Nemuro Sanma Festival
With the word, Sanma in the name of this festival, you could have probably guessed that this festival is all about worshipping the fish, Sanma (Also known Pacific saury or mackerel pike in English). Nemuro brings in the most Sanma in the whole of Japan. So much so that you might be able to eat Sanma for free at some of the stalls here! This is one festival to attend for all fish lovers out there!
Address: Nemuro Port, Nemuro, Hokkaido (Google Map)
14. Kamome Island Festival
The Kamome Island Festival is like no other festival in the world and is held in the beginning of July at Esashi, Hokkaido. It is an auspicious ceremony that celebrates the sea. There are many activities held during this festival but the highlight would have to be when the men head out to sea towards a rock called Heishi Rock to change the rope that is wrapped around it.
HP: www.hokkaido-esashi.jp/modules/sightseeing/content0027.html (Japanese)
Address: Kamome Island (Hiyamadoritsu Natural Park) Esashi, Hiyama District, Hokkaido (Google Map)
15. Akkeshi Sakura and Oyster Festival
Akkeshi is located at the eastern part of Hokkaido and it is famous for oysters. Every year in May when oyster is abundant in this town, the locals here would hold the annual Akkeshi Sakura and Oyster Festival! This is the best festival to attend to take in the beautiful blossoms of the Sakura trees while enjoying succulent oysters.
HP: www.akkeshi-town.jp/chinese01/ (Chinese)
HP: www.akkeshi-town.jp/kanko/event/1 (Japanese)
Address: 6-9 Ponto, Akkeshi, Akkeshi District, Hokkaido (Google Map)
16. Sounkyo Hot Springs Ice Festival
Sounkyo Hot Springs is located to the east of Asahikawa, and here every year they hold a beautiful winter event called, Sounkyo Hot Springs Ice Festival. This is different from snow festivals that are more common in Hokkaido because the breathtaking sculptures that you see here are not made of snow but ice!
HP: www.sounkyo.net/chinese-t/ (Chinese)
HP: www.sounkyo.net/event/detail.php?id=3 (Japanese)
Address: Sounkyo Hot Springs, Kamikawa, Hokkaido (Google Map)
17. Strawberry Pork Festival
We know the name of this festival may surprise you but it is what the name says; a yummy gourmet festival where people gather at Toyoura that is famous for strawberries and pork. Besides food, there will be performances like marching bands and other fun-to-experience activities!
HP: www.town.toyoura.hokkaido.jp/hotnews/detail/00000374.html (Japanese Only)
Address: Toyoura Seaside Park, Toyoura, Hokkaido (Google Map)
18. Hokkai Heso Festival
Right in the middle of Hokkaido, there is a beautiful city called Furano. Little do most foreign tourists know that this town, which is famous for its lavender is also called, Hokkaido-no-Heso. This event will tickle your belly funny because what you will see during the parade are dancing men with funny faces painted on their bellies.
HP: www.furanotourism.com/cn/ (Chinese)
HP: www.furanotourism.com/jp/spot/spot_D.php?id=450 (Japanese)
Address: Furano City, Hokkaido (Google Map)
19. Sapporo Odori Beer Garden
This summer event is probably Hokkaido's largest summer event. Sapporo Odori Beer Garden is located right in the middle of Sapporo surrounded by beautiful luscious trees. Locals come here to have some beer to cool down from the summer heat. If you happen to be in Sapporo during summer, you must join in the festivities!
Address: 2 to 4 Odorinishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo City, Hokkaido (Google Map)
20. Chitose and Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival
It takes about an hour to get here from Sapporo in order to step into an ice wonderland. Lake Shikotsu holds the Chitose and Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival to share with the world the beauty of ice sculptures. It is truly a gorgeous wonderland here that will help you forget the cold during winter.
HP: www.welcome-to-chitose.jp/chinese-t/ (Chinese)
HP: www.welcome-to-chitose.jp/category/detail.php?item=43 (Japanese)
Address: Shikotsu-Toya National Park, Chitose, Hokkaido (Google Map)
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.