Winter Wonderland is located in the heart of Old Temple, a festival that transforms one of the district’s busiest plazas into a glittering winter attraction. Every year at the start of the holiday season, the surrounding temples and cathedrals are adorned with thousands of colored lights, and the large fountain at the center of the plaza gives way to the Hakodate Snow Palace, a Japanese-style castle surrounded by a frozen moat.
The snow palace is made from enchanted ice, connected to the plaza by an elevated footbridge where skaters can pass underneath. The upper level is a broad circular balcony, with counters for skate rentals and steps down to the frozen ground floor. The lower level is open to the outside, with beautiful strands of white lights dangling across the archways, illuminating the rink in a soft, romantic glow.
The rest of the plaza is decorated with snow and ice sculptures, and an enchantment in the air transforms any rain that falls here this season into beautiful snowflakes. Musicians often set up at the edge of the ice to perform after dark, and the decorative lights that surround the plaza are timed to flash and change with their songs.
An open-air pavilion stands just west of the snow palace, ringing an evergreen tree that stands nearly as tall as the nearby temples. Subtle magic keeps the air in here warm and comfortable, and the pavilion’s dwarven hosts bring out hot drinks, hearty food, and strong spirits for customers to enjoy. There are cozy fire pits shaped into the stonework, with warm blankets and giant cushions for relaxing together around the fire.