One of the most famous festivals in winter in Japan, the Asahikawa Winter Festival is certainly worth taking a look at if you happen to be in Asahikawa at the start of February.
For all intents and purposes the festival is an eye pleasing mix of light, ice and snow with visitors able to see fireworks, laser shows, ice sculptures, a massive snow stage with music and dance acts, as well as having the opportunity to sample some of the local food, and drink some very cold beer.
The festival's activities are centered in Tokiwa park where you will find a large number of ice sculptures, lights, displays, laser shows, and food and drink stalls. From here it's a short walk through the park to the river bank where you will find the massive snow stage. More food and drink here. Next to the main stage is a huge ice slide to keep the kids (and the kids at heart) entertained for hours. This is also a prime location to watch the fireworks which are fired over the river.
The International Ice Sculpture Competition takes place along the main shopping street Kaimono Koen. Do yourself a favour and walk by at night when the sculptures are lit-up and looking their best.
So there you have it, 5 days of snow, ice, light , lasers, music food and drink. Considering it costs you nothing to get involved, what better way to enjoy yourself during the cold Asahikawa evenings.