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Photo By: PIXTA/ Daikegoro
Region
Hokkaido
Island
Hokkaido
Largest City
Sapporo
Population
5,682,950

Ice Village at Lake Shikaribetsu Kotan

Atop a frozen freshwater lake and sea of snow, Japan’s Ice Village reappears every winter.

By Ashley Tsuruoka

  • Jan. 27 - March 10, 2024
Atop a frozen freshwater lake and sea of snow, Japan’s Ice Village reappears every winter. Located in the central mountains of Hokkaido, this man-made village is built from large ice sculptures and domes, forming an ice bar, ice chapel and ice hotel with beautifully sculpted furniture and icy decor. Since 1980, the Ice Village at Lake Shikaribetsu Kotan has become a cozy retreat for locals and visitors to experience the beauty of Hokkaido.

What is Shikaribetsu Kotan?

Ice Village at Lake Shikaribetsu Kotan

Photo by: PIXTA/ YOKO Welcome to the neighborhood.

In 1980, the locals living near Lake Shikaribetsu in the Daisetsuzan mountains of Hokkaido decided to create a kotan, translated as “village” in Ainu, the indigenous language of Hokkaido. Once temperatures reach -30°C, the kotan can be constructed on Lake Shikaribetsu and remains strong until early March, when the ice structures begin to melt into the lake. Every year, over 40 volunteers help design and build the village, creating a one-of-a-kind winter wonderland.

Icy Stays and Attractions

Ice Village at Lake Shikaribetsu Kotan

Photo by: PIXTA/ jyapa Bottoms up.

The Ice Village at Lake Shikaribetsu hosts a variety of special winter activities, such as carving your own ice mug, watching a film at an ice theater or toasting marshmallows over a campfire. For novel accommodation, stay at a stunning ice hotel made with walls of ice and frozen beds, equipped with sleeping bags for a comfortable overnight stay. Every year, this enchanting village is built anew, so keep an eye out for new wintry attractions.

Drop by the Ice Chapel to see a gorgeous, intricately carved chapel for weddings and special occasions. Want to watch a movie? The Ice Theater is an outdoor cinema. Kids and kids at heart are sure to enjoy the Ice Rink, Ice Zip Line and Ice Slide

Enjoy over 50 menu items like frozen cocktails served in glasses made of ice at the Ice Bar. Feeling a bit peckish? Dine at the Ice Ramen Shop and slurp noodles like never before with ramen served in an ice bowl. For something a bit more upscale, try the Ice Chef and warm up with not-so-icy hot meals. If you’re looking to grab a quick bite, there’s the Ice Seicomart, a convenience store where you can purchase products from Seicomart.

In need of some retail therapy? Head over to the Ice Goods Store or make your own ice mug at the Ice Atelier.

End your stay with an unforgettable evening at the Ice Hotel and spend a night in an ice dome with cold beds and warm sleeping bags.

Onsen with a View and Special Tours

Ice Village at Lake Shikaribetsu Kotan

Photo by: PIXTA/ttn3 Travel in style.

At the Ice Village in Lake Shikaribetsu, find relief from the bitter cold by basking in hot springs and foot baths with views of the forested mountain.

Explore the peaceful lake and its frosty surroundings with a special tour. Dog sledding, snowmobiling and winter horse riding make for an exciting winter adventure.

Things To Know

HOURS AND FEES

The Ice Village is set to open from December 10, 2023 to March 14, 2024.
To enter, there’s a ¥600 (free for guests staying at Hoshino Resorts). Activities have additional costs.

EXPECTED TEMPERATURE

Be prepared for extremely cold temperatures, reaching below -30°C, dress appropriately.

How To Get There

Address

By train

To reach Lake Shikaribetsu Kotan, consider a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Sapporo or a two-and-a-half-hour drive from New Chitose Airport. Shuttle buses may be available during winter.

Where To Stay

Shikaribetsu Kohan Onsen Hotel Fusui
  • Kitaurimaku, Kato-gun Shikaoi-cho, Hokkaido, 081-0344 Japan
  • ¥19,250 - ¥42,900
  • 4.23/5 (283 reviews)
  • 0.2 km
Shikaribetsukyo Kanno Onsen
  • 145 Kitaurimaku, Kato-gun Shikaoi-cho, Hokkaido, 081-0344 Japan
  • ¥11,150 - ¥11,150
  • 7.5 km

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