Renowned worldwide for its breathtaking landscapes and remarkable powder snow, Niseko and its neighbouring cities boasts a vibrant cultural scene that comes alive during its lively festivals. Hokkaido celebrates various summer festivals showcasing the rich heritage, warm traditions, and immense beauty of Japanese culture. These festivals are celebrated not only by locals but also attract thousands of visitors from across the globe who come to revel in the festive atmosphere and experience the cultural tapestry of Japan. Read on to learn more about the festivals this region celebrates this August.
The Sapporo Odori Beer Garden is a cherished summer tradition in the heart of Sapporo that runs from mid-July to mid-August. This month-long festival is a highlight after the city’s long winters. Located in Odori Park, this beer garden is easily accessible from the Odori subway station, taking just a minute to walk. Established in 1959, this expansive event covers six blocks and seats up to 13,000 attendees.
The Sapporo Odori Beer Garden is Japan’s largest beer garden, featuring venues run by the country’s top brewers. You can choose various seating options, which include tables, standing areas, and sheltered spots. As this is a highly anticipated and popular event, we recommend arriving early to ensure seating at the location. You can enjoy your favourite brew by purchasing a ticket and exchanging it with the friendly staff for your selected beverage. Additionally, delectable food options are available for purchase. Join us at the Sapporo Odori Beer Garden this summer for a wonderful time filled with great beer and lively festivities!
Clear your schedule from August 18 – 19 for the Hirafu Festival. Often dubbed as the representative event of Niseko, the festival has numerous fun activities to offer visitors. The festival will feature “Niseko Gourmet Carnival” where more than 20 popular restaurants will take part, sell local agricultural products, have a children’s chambara showdown, target practice games and a Yotei taiko drumming competition. The festival culminates with a spectacular fireworks display illuminating the night sky, captivating all the attendees. What better way to enjoy the passing of summer than experiencing the Hirafu Festival!
Another notable festival in Sapporo is the Hokkai Bon Odori. Locals and tourists alike enjoy this annual event in mid-August. Hokkai Bon Odori translates to Hokkai Bon Dance, a traditional Japanese festival. It involves dance and drum performances to welcome ancestral spirits back home. This Buddhist observance honours ancestors who return to visit their families during Obon, an annual event. It’s a significant occasion where families gather to pay respects to the deceased. Different regions have their own music and dance styles and people typically form a circle around the yagura, a raised wooden structure for musicians. The dance is simple and slow, making it easy to learn. Anyone can participate by following the person in front. Partake in the Hokkai Bon Odori this August and immerse yourself in this time-honoured tradition.
The warm and welcoming spirit of Hokkaido’s summer festivals creates a sense of unity and togetherness, embracing everyone who visits and inviting them to become a part of the community. So, as you plan your trip to Niseko and its neighbouring cities, make sure to time it with the festivals introduced above. Discover the beauty of Japan’s rich traditions and create lasting memories as you immerse yourself in the vibrant festival culture.