- February 19 2016
Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival In Chitose City, Hokkaido: Don’t Miss The Fantastic Art Of Ice!
I visited Lake Shikotsu in Hokkaido to see the 37th Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival in Chitose City, Hokkaido.
About The Festival
Winter Festivals Are Hot In Hokkaido!
There are many festivals going on in every season in Japan. Hokkaido holds some famous festivals in winter such as Sapporo Snow Festival. Chitose City which is not far from Sapporo City, holds another popular winter festival called Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival in every winter. The icy statues are fantastically illuminated at night!
Dates And Weather
Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival is held between the end of January to middle of February. In 2014, the festival was held from 24 January to 16 February.
It was my first visit to the festival. I was worried about the temperature… I have researched before my visit, and found that it goes below -10℃ (14℉) in the daytime and below -20℃ (-4℉) at night… Brrr!
Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival
Arriving To The Lake
I stayed the hotel called National Park Resort Shikotsu-ko, and the hotel has shuttle bus service available to the lake.
I was super amazed how beautiful the lake is with illuminated statues…!! I’ve never seen the view like this!!
View From Observatory
The bus driver recommended me to walk up to the observatory deck called Blue Chateau to see the statues. There are ice statues made from Lake Shikotsu’s water and they are colourfully illuminated.
The Ice Tower
Let’s walk down from the deck and take closer look onto the statues...
This tall statue is called The Blue Tower.
The Mossy Tunnel
The tunnel is illuminated by vivid green light, that makes this tunnel called The Mossy Tunnel.
Under The Lake Promenade
From The Mossy Tunnel, there is another icy tunnel with blue light.
Frozen fish is desplayed on the wall of ice. This is why this tunnel is also called the aquarium under the lake.
The Big Mountain
The beautiful blue tunnel leads me to the Big Mountain. This is not a tunnel and there is no ceiling, so I could see stars and moon in the sky.
This is how the Big Mountain looks like from the outside.
The Mossy Tunnel, the aquarium under the lake, and the Big Mountain are all connected. The picture above is the exit.
The Icy Shrine Called Hyoutou Jinja(Shrine)
Look these coins on the wall of ice!
Coins are everywhere inside of the shrine… It looks like fish scales…!
The offertory box is on the cubic ice which has fish inside. Fish is the important source of protein in the region, so fish is worshipped as sacred creature, I guess...
The shuttle bus came to pick us up after 45 minutes since we arrived, so I went back to the hotel. It was Friday and was not busy in the site, so I enjoyed without crowd :)
The temperature was about -12℃ (10.5℉) while I was there. I put extra sweater and thick jacket, so the windchill factor was not that bad.
I came back to the lake in the next day, so please refer here if you are interested!