By Rey Waters
The Snow Crystal Museum of Asahikawa is a small, understated “museum” purely dedicated to snowflakes. Some of my friends were not impressed with the lack of size and activity of the museum, but I personally live for off-beat, charming places like this one. The museum is reminiscent of a European castle and belongs to the Hokkaido Folk Arts and Crafts Village, which also includes the International Dyeing and Weaving Art Museum and the Yukara Ori Craft Museum.
The Arts and Crafts Village is located on national route 12 in Asahikawa, and has a large parking lot available for your vehicle. Admission to the Crystal Museum for one adult costs ¥700, which is a little pricey for what the museum offers, although I didn’t mind paying that price in exchange for the fairy-tale-esque architectural experience. When I visited, part of the museum was undergoing construction, so unfortunately I wasn’t able to see the entire exhibit.
To enter the museum, you first go down a spiral of stairs that leads to a corridor. The spiral railing is laced with metal snowflakes and at the bottom of the staircase is a water fountain full of coins. The bottom of the staircase leads to a set of doors decorated with ornate opaque snowflakes and is guarded by two statues of heroic looking women on either side. After this is my favorite section of the entire museum: the corridor of ice. The corridor lends a magical feeling to the structure of the exhibit, and has windows that show off its impressive series of huge ice columns.
After leaving the ice corridor you enter the Music Hall, which has a beautiful oil painting of the sky on the entirety of its ceiling. The hall is used for concerts, weddings,and other events, and you can even channel your inner prince or princess with exquisite costumes for hire, for adults and children. The adjoining dining room and the Music Hall is absolutely enchanting, and left me wishing I had an event to attend right there. There is another art-display room off to the side, which was not very impressive, but the snow-themed paintings were very lovely. After you finish admiring them, the very essence of the museum, the Snow Crystal Room, is waiting to be explored. The hallway leading into the room has large luminescent pictures of what I can only assume to be the snowy mountains of Hokkaido. The Crystal Room itself has pictures of over 200 snow crystals displayed on blue window panes from eye level to the ceiling.
This leaves your visit to the museum almost at a close, but first there is an interactive room that has information on snowflakes and crystals. It is complete with snow-themed children’s books, videos, charts, and statues. You exit the museum the same way you come in, through the ice corridor and up the spiral staircase, which left me wanting a little more at the end of my trip. I plan on going back for the other two museums at the Arts and Crafts Village, and possibly back to the Crystal Museum for a second round of what I can only describe as a magical feeling.
Please use Dokita Bus and Hokkaido Central Bus to get here by public transport. You can board this bus from the "Asahikawa City 1 Jojo 7-chome stop" which is near the Premier Hotel. Get off at the "Takasadadai entrance" bus stop about 10 minutes from the city.
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