Sapporo White Illumination 2018/2019 – a Gorgeous Winter Wonderland




In the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido is the famous prefectural capital of Sapporo. It is famous for its beer, and of course its bitingly cold yet gorgeous winters! One of the most famous aspects of a real Sapporo winter it the Sapporo White Illumination, which was the first illumination event in Japan.

Through this article, I hope you’ll be able to get a sense of the winter magic that central Sapporo beautifully lit up in an equally amazing winter backdrop can bring.

Matsuri Breakdown

The Sapporo White Illumination is the oldest illumination- that is, light display show- in Japan, having started from just 1048 lights back in 1981, yet now boasting more than 780,000 individual lights annually! It’s certainly a sight to behold contrasted against the crisp, dark Sapporo nights.

There are a huge variety of displays, including beautiful Christmas and winter-themed displays, and the trees that line streets, and even the famous Sapporo TV Tower are lit up for the occasion!
The Sapporo White Illumination takes place throughout the Hokkaido winter, and during that time has many different displays throughout central Sapporo, including the famous Odori Park and in front of the central city train station.

Things to Do

The Sapporo White Illumination is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the true beauty of a Japanese winter, walking through the central part of the city and taking in the wide range of colours and arrangements on display from the streets, although when the winter gets a bit too biting and you’re looking from a reprieve from the cold, you can overlook the illumination from somewhere nice and warm like the Sapporo TV Tower!

During the beginning of the Illumination, from November until Christmas Eve, there is what is famous for the Munich Christmas City in Sapporo event. This is a Bavarian style Christmas market held with the help of Sapporo’s sister city of Munich, serving traditional German cuisine and providing an opportunity to look at many other German items. In recent years, traditional Christmas items from Russia and Lithuania have also begun to spring up! It’s the perfect opportunity to experience a little bit of the West and East together!

Details and Access

Date and Time:

The lights themselves are from 16:30 till 22:30, and until 24:00 on December 23rd, 24th, and 25th specifically for Christmas
As mentioned the Sapporo White Illumination takes place during the long Hokkaido winter, from Mid-November to Mid-February each year, and is centralized around 3 main areas in central Sapporo. In 2018/2019 it will take place from November 22nd 2018 to March 14th 2019.


Odori Park, (Until Christmas)
Ekimae-dori, (Until Mid-February)
and Minami 1-dori (Until Mid-March)

Official homepage: 


You can see the Illumination directly from the front of Sapporo station so it’s easy to find!
Sapporo itself is an approximately 2-hour flight from Tokyo.

Other Things to Do in Sapporo

Sapporo City Clock Tower

Sapporo’s wooden clock tower. Built all the way back in 1878, which has been converted into a museum on the history of the city

Sapporo TV Tower

The city’s famous tower built in 1957. And at just over 90 meters tall it offers a commanding view of Hokkaido’s largest city!

Sapporo Beer Museum

The only beer museum in Japan, with free self-tours through the origin of Sapporo Beer and Japanese beer history! The more than the 100-year-old building is famous for one of Hokkaido prefecture’s Heritage Sites

Hokkaido Shrine

Shrine opened in 1869 that enshrines four gods. Including the soul of Emperor Meiji, the first emperor of modern Imperial Japan. The other three gods that are enshrined were selected by Emperor Meiji himself to protect and ensure the success of Japan’s reclamation of Hokkaido in the 1800’s.

Closing Remarks

As the capital of Hokkaido, Sapporo is a truly magical city rich in history and there are many things to do, and winter is truly when this city is at its best, the White Illumination being just one example of this.
If you’re looking for a new way to experience the harsh northern winters of Japan and a gorgeous winter wonderland, then the Sapporo White Illumination is definitely for you!

Did You Know That There is a Festival Every Day Somewhere in Japan?

Japan is a country of festivals indeed. Matsuri is an essential part of traditional Japanese culture. Thus, every day somewhere in Japan a festival takes place. There are traditional and modern festivals, on the sea and the ground, in summer and winter. Japanese are hardworking people. However, when you attend at least one festival in Japan, you will understand how locals like to party. The article under the link below will introduce you to a celebration on any day of the year. I am sure you will find an event that suits your interests utmost!


Explore Everything in Hokkaido

Hokkaido is the most northern island in Japan and is a great place to visit as it boasts plenty of tourist attractions and outstanding food. If you would like to see rural Japan, Hokkaido gives you a unique opportunity to visit a land of snowy mountains and admire authentic traditional northern Japan. The following article assembled the best festivals and activities to enjoy in Hokkaido throughout the year, which will make your trip to Japan even more rewarding!


Would You Like to See the Biggest Winter Festival in Japan?

Hokkaido is the coldest Island in the Japanese archipelago. But this fact doesn’t scare Japanese people who have matsuri in their blood. Sapporo is holding the most significant winter event in Japan in February – Sapporo Snow Festival. So, if you are planning to come to Hokkaido in winter for skiing, visiting hot springs or even just on a business trip, don`t miss an opportunity to walk through the city and see this outstanding Festival! The following article will provide you with essential information on this beautiful event. Please check the link below!


Aedan Southeren

Hi, I'm Aedan, an Australian university student currently studying in Japan

Written on

Other Events You May Like