The ski slopes aren’t the only reason to head up to Hokkaido this month as Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival is kicking off on the 27th and running through until March 3rd.

The festival’s focus is on the fantastic so expect plenty of genre fare of the science fiction, horror, adventure, and fantasy variety. As well being a great opportunity to catch a huge selection of new Japanese films, with English subtitles, the festival also offers the chance to catch some major Hollywood offerings before they go on general release. Oscar contender 12 Years a Slave will be playing along with Seth Rogan comedy This is the End, the third outing for Vin Diesel’s Riddick, and a first look at Disney’s latest Frozen amongst others. The closing film, No no Nanana no ka comes courtesy of director Nobuhiko Obayashi, known for his brilliant—and utterly bonkers—1977 cult horror-comedy ‘Hausu’.

Yubari is easily reachable from Sapporo. It’s about an hour and a half train ride away, making for a cultural experience well worth squeezing into any skiing itinerary. For more information, visit their site at

–Christopher O’Keeffe