Although the famous Sapporo Snow Festival is held in February, the White Illumination Festival takes place in Odori Park from the end of November until Christmas day.
This means that if you are planning to have fun in the snow in Hokkaido around Christmas, there are still plenty of reasons to visit Odori Park in the centre of Sapporo City.
In Japan, Christmas is considered a romantic time. Snuggling up in the cold and enjoying the beautiful lights of the Sapporo White Illumination is one way to enjoy the season. Stalls around the park provide a place to warm up. They also sell delicious Amasake, a sweet, easy to drink, warm sake that looks more like porridge than rice wine.
Something that is not well known about the White Illumination Festival is that the thousands of lights are powered with renewable energy, including recycled cooking oil and solar panels specially designed to produce power even in the heaviest snow season. In these times of global warming and concerns about nuclear power, the festival is a showcase of ways we can produce energy while taking better care of the Earth.