Asahikawa Fuyu Matsuri

Hokkaido’s second snow festival

Asahikawa Fuyu Matsuri is the Japanese name and literal translation of this winter festival occurring each year in Asahikawa, on Hokkaido Island, in the north of Japan. During a short week at the beginning of February, visitors can discover a huge snow sculpture and some ephemeral ice statues spread across the city center.

We already know Sapporo and its popular snow festival, Yuki Matsuri, happening every year in February. Not far from there, Asahikawa organizes Fuyu Matsuri, during the exact same period, a few days apart. While the city might not be of the best interest for tourists, this winter event reveals its attractiveness.

Read more about:

Yuki Matsuri - The Famous Sapporo Snow Festival

Ephemeral statues are livelier than Sapporo’s statues: worked with movements and more detailed in their expressions. Moreover, the gigantic size of the main snow sculpture is worth the visit: It is actually known worldwide for its record in the Guinness World Records book.

The festival takes place at two sites. They are close to the JR Station and can be reached easily on foot or by bus. The first, called Kaimono Koen, houses ice masterpieces along one kilometer on the commercial street Heiwa dori. It is an international championship, and visitors can see artists working at the beginning of the festival. Farther from this avenue, visitors reach the second and main place of the matsuri: along Ishikari River and Asahibashi Bridge. This is where snowmen and sculptures, including the biggest one, stand, as the highlight of the show. Additionally, numerous open-air activities, such as sleds for adults, ice slides, and food stalls, embellish this promenade.

With about 1 million visitors per year, two times less than Sapporo’s Yuki Matsuri, the Asahikawa festival has the advantage of not being crowded and being more pleasant to discover. We recommend staying longer to enjoy nocturnal illumination, bringing life to sculptures now totally in the dark. However, spending a night is not essential for those willing to go back to Sapporo.

In 2019, Asahikawa Fuyu Matsuri celebrated its 60th anniversary. For this occasion, the main gigantic snow statue involved several elements that marked the past 60 years, starting with a reproduction of Nagoya castle, honoring its financial participation during the first edition of the festival.

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Asahikawa Fuyu Matsuri photo gallery

  • Asakikawa Fuyu Matsuri, in 2017, Monumental Snow Sculpture
  • Asahikawa Fuyu Matsuri, Snow Sculpture
  • Asahikawa Fuyu Matsuri, Snowmen
  • Asahikawa Fuyu Matsuri, Snowmen 2
  • Asahikawa Fuyu Matsuri, Outdoor playground for children and adults
  • Asahikawa Fuyu Matsuri, Mario Snow Statue
  • Asahikawa Fuyu Matsuri, Outdoor playground for children and adults 2
  • Asahikawa Fuyu Matsuri, Outdoor playground for children and adults 3
  • Asahikawa, Ishikari River in February
  • Asahikawa Fuyu Matsuri, Night Illuminations
  • Asahikawa Fuyu Matsuri, Night Illuminations 2
  • Asahikawa Fuyu Matsuri, Night Illuminations 3
  • Asahikawa Fuyu Matsuri, Ice Sculpture on Heiwa Dori in February
  • Asahikawa Fuyu Matsuri, Ice Rink
  • Asahikawa Fuyu Matsuri, Street Decoration
  • Asahikawa Fuyu Matsuri, Ice Sculpture

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How to get to Asahikawa Fuyu Matsuri

From Asahikawa JR Station:

  • Kaimono Koen -- from the main exit, turn on the left and walk 2 minutes
  • Asahibashi -- ~15 minutes on foot (1,4 km) or ~5 minutes with the free shuttle

Location reachable with the JRP : order your Japan Rail Pass (from ~US$ 281)

Admission

Free

Opening hours

In 2020: from February 6th to 11th

Free access between 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

How long / when to visit

Six consecutive days at the beginning of February

One day is enough to see the whole festival

In Japanese

旭川冬まつり

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Resources

Asahikawa City Offical Website (in Japanese)

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