6 Traditions Only Locals in Hokkaido Can Understand

YOSAKOI Soran Festival in 2010
YOSAKOI Soran Festival in 2010 | © Tzu-hsun Hsu / Wikipedia
Dave Afshar

With its long winters, rich history, and indigenous population, the northern island of Hokkaido has a distinct culture, unique to that of the rest of Japan. We take a look at some of the holidays, special events, and traditions that make Hokkaido truly one of a kind.

Yuki Zanmai

Located at the famous Jozankei hot spring resort, Yuki Zanmai (literally, “snow indulgence”, but more commonly known in English as “Jozankei Mountain Party”) is an all-ages winter celebration taking place every year in mid January. Guests have a chance to ride dog sleds and snow rafts and take a pleasant stroll through Yukitouro (“Snow Candle Way”), which is a local shrine lit up at night by around two thousand candles.

Sapporo Snow Festival

Drawing in over two million tourists per year, this now legendary festival of ice and snow was started by a group of high school students in 1950. Participants can join sporting competitions, ski and snowboard events, ice sculpture exhibits, and even a beauty contest where the winner is awarded the title of “Ice Queen”.

Sapporo Snow Festival

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