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 all season long. Once a humble, open-air holiday bazaar, the celebration has grown in more ways than one, filling every corner of the plaza that hosts it with a variety of attractions and shows, street food stalls, festive bars, and live music.
The festival itself boasts hundreds of lighted displays, including the brilliantly illuminated RhyDin Eye ferris wheel at one end, whose lights cast a rainbow of soft colors over the area. A holiday market sits at its feet, flanked by a variety of evergreen trees and centered around a whimsical double-decker carousel radiating light, music over the crowd browsing the market. The vendor stalls and the decorations around the market change with the holidays throughout the long winter season, with various celebrations of love, light, and the beginning of a new year spanning from December through February.
An open-air pavilion sits at the center of the festival, ringing a giant evergreen tree at the center that stands nearly as tall as the temples nearby. 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.
On the opposite end of the plaza from the market, the new Hakodate Snow Palace is a Japanese-style castle, surrounded by a moat of ice for skaters to enjoy and accessed on foot by a bridge over the rink. There are two levels inside, with skates available to rent and a fully stocked bar made of ice on the upper level; and a ring decorated with dangling strands of lights down below, where skaters can pass through from the rink and put on a show for the spectators up above.