Off Route

Aomori Snow Festivals & Rice Field Snow Art

By Karyn Lo

Understandably, by now you are probably drowning in snow. You probably walk out the door and encounter blinding white. At least, perhaps you’ve regularly slipped on ice even while wearing snow boots. Well, want to see MORE snow? Snow that is piled into shapes? Or ice blocks turned into glowing lanterns? Or see a field where someone walked all over it to make artsy patterns? Or just get warm and fuzzy with mulled wine in an igloo? …Am I selling it to you yet? Who needs the Sapporo Snow Festival when we have all this snow in our own backyard!!



There are quite a few local winter events in Aomori, but I really want to introduce you, dear reader, to three of my favourite Aomori snow events. Just be careful of the dates – many of these events are on around the same time and are weather-dependent.

Lake Towada Winter Story

Lake Towada Winter Story

Lake Towada Winter Story is one of my all-time favourite festivals in Aomori Prefecture. Why, you may ask? Well, combine snow lanterns with a lake in the evening, fireworks, banana boats, illumination tunnels, mulled wine, and igloos… and we’ve got a winter party! Fireworks run daily from 20:00-21:00, and mulled wine is available for FREE REFILLS. Sorry about the caps, but also not… The wine is \500, and you can keep the tiny little cup and get free refills as many times as you’d like. The stage performances are also quite the scene, and the igloo (kamakura ice bar) is open from 19:00 every day. The snow lanterns line up the paths by the lake, and lead you to the well-known bronze statue of Lake Towada. If you need a date location, this festival is quite the romance. Especially with the banana boat.

Hirosaki Castle in its glory

Hirosaki Castle in its glory

Hirosaki Lantern Festival is also a charming festival, with its snow sculptures and the castle view. As it is on the castle grounds, you’ll see that nearly everything is lit up with snow lanterns. The lights will turn on around 16:30, and you might even be able to light up a lantern yourself. The various food stalls on offer will also keep you warm. The castle is being renovated so it isn’t in its usual location, but I believe it is still viewable on the castle grounds.

Art. And Snow.

Art. And Snow.

Simon Beck’s Winter Rice Field Art is the one event I will be sad to miss this year. It is only on for one weekend, and if there is a snow storm then BAM, the art is gone! This man has travelled around the world creating snow art, by donning some snow shoes and patiently walking around a fresh field of snow. You can view the art by heading up the platform tower. For those who have seen the Summer Rice Art, it is the exact same location Godzilla was in during 2016. There are also kite-watching events, delicious food stalls, and snow dome making events (though you’ll need a reservation). I highly recommend seeing this, and having a walk around the park.

And as always, for up-to-date event information, check out Mel’s amazing blog! Keep warm, Aomori-ans!

More Info

Lake Towada Winter Story 2017十和田湖冬物語2017
February 3-26, 2017
Weekdays: 15:00-21:00
Weekends & Holidays: 11:00-21:00
Lake Towada Yasumiya  十和田湖畔休屋特設イベント会場

Hirosaki Castle Snow Lantern Festival 2017第41回 弘前城雪燈篭まつり

February 9-12, 2017
Hirosaki Park 弘前公園
Winter Rice Field Art 2017 with Simon Beck’s Snow Art冬の田んぼアート 

February 9-10th snow art creation, 11-12th art viewing
10:00-21:00 (\300)
Location: Michi no Eki Inakadate Yayoi no Sato Viewing Platform Area
道の駅いなかだて 弥生の里展望所周辺

Getting There

Drive drive drive! There are various ways to access Hirosaki, Lake Towada, and Inakadate by JR train. However, they are severely impacted by snow so delays are common.

Lake Towada Winter Story 2017十和田湖冬物語2017
Shuttle Bus Snowliner, \1000 one way, from Shichinohe-Towada Station to Towadakohan Yasumiya

Hirosaki Castle Snow Lantern Festival 2017第41回 弘前城雪燈篭まつり
Local JR trains run from Aomori to Hirosaki daily.

Winter Rice Field Art 2017 with Simon Beck’s Snow Art冬の田んぼアート 
From Hirosaki Station, take the Konan Tetsudo line to Tanbo Art Station, or the Konan Hirosaki-Kuroishi-Ogawara Line bus to the Takahi Stop.

Getting Out

Has anyone introduced you to Pepe’s Kitchen in Hirosaki yet? If you like burgers, then this is the place to drop by!

‘Tis the season for onsen! If you haven’t checked out David’s posts about onsen, then it’s high time you do! I highly recommend Aoni Onsen in Kuroishi during winter.

Travel Tip

Snow tires. If you haven’t got them on, I sincerely wonder how you’ve made it this far.


2 thoughts on “Aomori Snow Festivals & Rice Field Snow Art

  1. Pingback: February Volume 1 – Good Morning Aomori

  2. Pingback: Fields of Rice-y Art – Inakadate | Good Morning Aomori

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