The Asahikawa Winter Festival in Hokkaido That You cannot Miss

The Asahikawa Winter Festival is known as the second biggest winter festival right behind the Sapporo Snow Festival and just as popular! In fact, the Asahikawa Winter Festival spans several days and is adored by visitors and locals alike! In this article, we will go over what to expect at the festival and what to see and do while there!

All About the Asahikawa Winter Festival

All About the Asahikawa Winter Festival

Dating all the way back to 1947, the Asahikawa Winter Festival actually used to be known as Iyomante, which loosely translated to “Bear Festival” in the native Ainu language. The festival itself was started in order to find a way for people to enjoy themselves during the coldest month of Hokkaido’s famous winters.

It wasn’t until 1960 that the name was changed to the Asahikawa Winter Festival and ever since, they have added more activities and the event has grown ever since! It is held in Tokiwa Park in the city of Asahikawa and offers many things to see and do!

Among these are the International Ice Sculpture competition, which can be seen along one of the main shopping streets. These sculptures are also lit up at night for everyone to enjoy, giving a magical feeling in the evening air!

There are plenty of things to do for children and families as well, that include fireworks, trying out local food, as sliding down a huge ice slide! The main event though consists of the huge snow sculptures that have a theme that changes every year!

In fact, one of these enormous sculptures even made its way into the Guinness book of world records for its size! We are sure that Asahikawa will keep pushing the boundaries, but first, let’s take a look back at the previous festivals!

Looking forward to the Asahikawa Winter Festival 2019!

Asahikawa Winter Festival 2019 will be the 60th time the festival is held, and it will occur from February 6th through February 11th in 2019. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the sister city partnership between Asahikawa city and Suwon City, the theme will center around that friendship!

Many airplanes from Korea will be stationed at the Asahikawa Airport for visitors to see and there will be plenty of activities to see and do! This includes many stage performances and live music, as well as activities such as the famous ice slide!

We hope that the Snow Zip Line from 2018 and the huge Snow Maze make a glorious return in 2019’s Asahikawa Winter Festival! Some of these activities will charge a small fee, so be prepared and bring some extra change with you so you can experience the festival to its fullest!

Previous the Asahikawa Winter Festival

Season 2018

The 2018 Asahikawa Winter Festival was actually the 59th time that the festival was held! It was held from February 7th until February 12th and brought around 976,000 visitors!

Many of the popular smaller sculptures that were built this year featured a lot of Minions from the film, as well as special appearances from Mario from Super Mario Bros and several Pokémon Characters!

Season 2017

Asahikawa Winter Festival 2017 was the 58th time the festival was held, and they celebrated with the theme of Zoo of Dreams! At the main sculpture, you could see a polar bear sliding down accompanied by penguins and seals.

Getting to the Asahikawa Winter Festival

Getting to the Asahikawa Winter Festival is easy thanks to the free shuttle bus that is available and can be accessed from the front of Asahikawa Station. The bus itself will take around 20 minutes or so but will drop you off close to the venue!

If you want to take the scenic route, it is recommended to walk to the venue at Tokiwa park. The reason for this, is because you can see the many ice sculptures that are placed around the street that leads to the park. It’s a great experience especially at night, when they are lit up! Either way you choose, you are sure to have an amazing time at the Asahikawa Winter Festival!

Event information

  • Event name: Asahikawa Winter Festival
  • Street address: 4044 Tokiwakoen, Asahikawa-shi, Hokkaido 070-0044
  • Access: 
    • By free shuttle bus: from Asahikawa station. It is about 20 minutes from the station to the venue.
    • By bus: from Asahikawa station, take Bus No. 3, 4, 5, 22 to Suehiro or Shunko direction and get off at Tokiwa Koen mae Station; 4 minutes walk from the bus stop to the venue.
    • By taxi: It is about 10 minutes from Asahikawa station to the venue.