Go to the Sapporo Snow Festival
This is the mother of all snow festivals in Japan. It attracts huge crowds of foreign and national tourists for good reasons. It has the some of the most impressive snow structures that you will ever see, the food in Sapporo is great, and there are three huge sites where you can enjoy different activities, and see different things. The illuminated snow and ice structures are the highlight of the festival so you can enjoy it well into the evening.
Visit Winter Illuminations
Winter illuminations are the biggest attraction in Japan during winter, and many long-run illumination events run until February or even longer. Do not miss a chance to see the most spectacular light-ups before they end.
Admire the Plum Blossoms
Plum blossoms are not as popular as the sakura (cherry blossoms) but they are quite impressive too! They start blooming in mid-February in central Japan. One great place to see them is at the Sazuka Forest Garden in Mie Prefecture. If you are in Tokyo, Hanegi Park is the spot. It is located a 5-minute walk from the Umegaoka Station (Odakyu Line) or a 7-minute walk from the Higashimatsubara Station (Inogashira Line).
Visit Yokote for its Kamakura Festival
A Kamakura is an igloo-like shelter made by making a mound of snow and digging out the inside. In Yokote, Akita Prefecture, in mid-February for 2 days from dawn until 9 PM, children invite passers-by to come inside their kamakuras. The guests then sit down for a moment and eat rice cakes and drink "amazake", a type of sweet sake that has very little or no alcohol. Chatting while enjoying these with friends, family or strangers is the best way to enjoy the festival.
There are about 100 kamakuras in which you can enter at the festival. Before leaving, you should make an offering to the water deity as the custom goes.
Try Wakasagi Smelt Fishing
If you love sports but skiing, snowboarding, and ice climbing are not for you, you might try ice fishing! Wakasagi smelt fishing is a favorite Hokkaido pastime. There are many lakes in Hokkaido where you can try ice fishing, but Lake Akan is one of the best places to try it.
Lake Akan has multiple tents set up around several holes, and you will find all the equipment you will need to catch your fish inside, along with a heater to keep you warm! After you have had enough fishing, you can head over to a separate area and have your fish cooked on the spot. Wakasagi smelt is usually eaten grilled or battered and fried like tempura. They are so small that the bones are soft, and you can eat them whole! They also go well with a large glass of beer.
Go to the Candle Light Festival of Otaru
Picture a charming, old Japanese snow-covered town in the foothills of a mountain that becomes lit up every evening from 5 PM by the warm glow of 120,000 candles. This is exactly what Otaru becomes for a few days in February during its unique snow light festival. The candles' fire is protected from the wind by hand-made snow walls.