While in Sapporo snow and ice was used to create giant castles the neighbouring town Otaru had their annual “Otaru Snow Light Path” which we went to see. Shop owners, school children and volunteers make snow sculptures to put candles in turning the town centre into a magical fairy tale place at night. Since it takes place around the same time as the Sapporo Snow Festival there are already a lot of tourists in the area plus Otaru is a very touristic place all around the year. Understandably: Many pretty old houses (I could only think of like three buildings here in Sapporo that look older than 50 years), a beautiful canal promenade, the sea and more.
At the canal
The snow candles range from simple bucket-moulded piles with a hole over coloured ice with flowers to whole walls full of ornaments and candles. There are some spots around the town where they are especially focused but as it attracts customers a lot of shops have some in front of them (usually just small ones, but still).
Sculpture inviting customers in front of a shop
We wanted to see the lights at the canal but some other people seemed to have had the same idea. It was really crowded and almost impossible to see anything. So the many small lights in the streets were very welcome. Unfortunately I didn’t take many pictures during daytime and my camera sucks in the dark.
Lights made from coloured ice in a shopping arcade
As mentioned Otaru is very touristic with many gift shops most of them sell fancy glassware. According to Wikipedia, ‘Otaru’s prominent industries are arts and crafts’.
In one of the many glass ware shops
There also is a music box museum. ‘Though I’m not sure whether it deserves the term ‘museum’. Most of the building is used to sell music boxes in every shape, colour, size and material and other decorative things. But there are some old music boxes, gramophones and similar machines displayed as well as some information on their history. I would have loved to learn something about how they work or how they’re built. But love that place nonetheless because kitsch. Another plus is that there’s relatively a lot of English.
Steam clock music boxes
In front of the music box museum is a steam powered clock, originating from Gastown, Vancouver. Instead of bells it has whistles and white steam telling the time.
The inside of this pile of snow is full of candles
We also went to see the sea for a bit before we headed home. It was a lovely moment ‘cause no one was there, the only light came from one warehouse at the docks (and omnipresent light pollution, duh), but just 5 minutes ago we were surrounded by thousands of candles, street laps, billboard signs and so many people that my classmates said it’s just like in China.
Round light made from ice with leaves
Definitely want to go there again when it’s a bit warmer.