Saturday, August 2, 2014

Hokkaido Winter 2013 北海道冬季之旅 - Otaru Snow Light Path Festival 小樽雪あかりの路

Visited 11.02.2013

Year 2013 (14th): 08.02.2013 - 17.02.2013
Year 2014 (15th): 08.02.2014 - 17.02.2014
Year 2015 (16th): 06.02.2015 - 15.02.2015

Other than Sapporo Snow Festival, this annual event held in Otaru is equally well-received by both locals and foreigners. Otaru Snow Light Path Festival became our main objective of revisiting Otaru on our second trip to Hokkaido. This event is held over a period of 10 days at two venues, along Otaru Canal and the old Temiya railway track. As this event falls in the same week with Sapporo Snow Festival, many would also make it a point to visit Otaru this time as well.

Walked our way to Otaru Canal from Minami-otaru JR Station, exactly the same way as what we did during our first visit 6 months ago. Was embraced by the nostalgic feel as we came to Marchen intersection and strolled along the familiar Sakaimachi street - the English style steam powered clock, exquisite music box and glassware shops, cafes and confectioneries to stopover for a break. What was different this time round was the addition of snow figures constructed on both sides of Sakaimachi street, and all these works of art further emphasized the theme of love and romance - something that Otaru has always been fondly associated with. Glass lamps and snow candles, which led the way to Otaru Canal began to light up when skies gradually darkened.

Reached the canal well when the sun was setting and was captivated by its innate beauty yet again. A different picturesque of Otaru Canal was presented in front of our eyes... far different from our first encounter 6 months ago. Snow has accumulated on the path beside the canal and icicles has formed on the edge of the warehouses' roof on the other side of the canal. Glass buoys, stringed together, were placed across and on the calm waters of the canal - reminded us that this was once an important tool in the fishing industry and were manufactured by many glassware shops in Otaru at that point in time. The entire stretch of Otaru Canal was lined with many snow candles that were constructed by volunteers and visitors. The bright and occasional wavering flames, when the breeze swept by, created this sense of warmth in the cold night. Personally, I will recommend visiting the canal in the evening to experience the transition from day to night, and also to avoid the bigger crowd that will start to come in at night.

Made our way to the other venue - Old Temiya railway track. Snow has covered the entire railway track, and snow walls have piled up on the sides. Took a leisure walk through the snow path which was decorated throughout with snow and ice candles, before we made our way back to Otaru JR Station.


Otaru Snow Light Path Festival 小樽雪あかりの路

(1) Otaru Canal

View Otaru Canal in a larger map

(2) Old Temiya railway track (手宫线迹地)

View Larger Map

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