Photo By: Robert Thomson
Region
Hokkaido
Island
Hokkaido
Largest City
Sapporo
Population
5,682,950

Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival

It's time for an... ice wedding at this annual winter wonderland in the heart of a national park.

  • Jan. 24 to Feb. 16, 2020
  • 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Illumination from 4:30 p.m.)
The annual Chitose Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival sees the banks of Lake Shikotsu transformed into a magical frozen kingdom. With colorfully illuminated ice castles and a whole host of wintry activities, it’s a fantastic way to make the most of the season’s cold weather!

You’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to another world as you wander around these surreal frozen abodes.

Lake Shikotsu is part of the Shikotsu-Toya National Park, in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido. It was formed in a volcanic crater and is surrounded by three volcanic mountains.

Enjoy sculptures, ice skating, and more

Photo by: redlegsfan21 Chitose’s Lake Shikotsu winter festival will light up the night.

During the ice festival, the lake’s water is used to create a huge range of stunning ice sculptures. The statues glisten blue under the sunshine during the day, but at night they’re illuminated in a host of bright colors forming a magical fairytale kingdom. You’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to another world as you wander around (and even inside) these surreal frozen abodes.

The sculptures are the main attraction, but there are plenty of other activities to enjoy during your visit. Glide across the ice rink, go down the ice slide or go for a horseback ride. To take it up a notch, pledge your eternal love for your significant other with an “ice wedding.”

Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival in Hokkaido Japan

Photo by: Robert Thomson Inside the ice sculptures!

As with any good festival, you can also find plenty of local food and drink stalls. Warm up with a bowl of oden (a classic Japanese soup), hot soba, and udon noodles.

On weekends and holidays, there are additional events including powerful taiko drumming performances and spectacular fireworks displays. After an evening of chilly fun, you can relax in any of the nearby onsen (hot springs). It’s the only suitable honeymoon for an ice wedding, really.

Want more icy winter festivals? Check out our list of the Top 10 Snow and Ice Festivals in Japan. Brrrr.

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Things To Know

Event details

Typically the festival runs from late January to mid-February. The fireworks displays are on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays during the event period.

Website

http://www.1000sai-chitose.or.jp/icefes.html

How To Get There

Address

Shikotsu-ko Dori, Shikotsukoonsen, Chitose-shi, Hokkaidō 066-0281, Japan

By bus

Chuo Buses run directly between New Chitose Airport and Lake Shikotsu approximately every three hours. The journey takes around an hour and costs ¥1,030.

By car

The festival at Lake Shikotsu is located about a 40-minute drive from New Chitose Airport (the main airport for Hokkaido), or around an hour and 10 minutes from Sapporo City.

Where To Stay

Guest House Shikotsu Kamui
  • Shikotsuko Onsen Bangaichi 92 Chitose-Shi, Hokkaido 066-0281
  • 7.4/10
  • 0.3 km
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Lake Shikotsu Tsuruga Resort Spa Mizu no Uta
  • Shikotsuko Onsen Chitose-Shi, Hokkaido 066-0281
  • 9.3/10
  • 0.3 km
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Kyukamura Shikotsuko
  • Shikotsuko Onsen Chitose-Shi, Hokkaido 066-0281
  • 8.6/10
  • 0.4 km
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Shikotsuko Daiichi Hotel Suizantei
  • Shikotsuko Onsen Chitose-Shi, Hokkaido 066-0281
  • 8.9/10
  • 0.4 km
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