Dram fine: Nikka Yoichi whisky distillery in Yoichi, Hokkaido.

Spirit of romance

He stole the secret of whisky and a wife - and his drop is among the best, writes Stephen Phelan.

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Snow sculptures in Sapporo, Japan.

Carved with devotion

Robbie Collin heads to Hokkaido to bathe in blizzard conditions and joins the crowds at Sapporo's snow festival.

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Snap frozen ... Mickey Mouse gets a brush up at the Sapporo Snow Festival.

Ice castles and ale

Stephen Phelan braves the elements at Sapporo's Snow Festival before seeking shelter and a glass of beer.

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Crowd pleasers ...  dancers at the Gujo Odori  Festival.

A year of celebration

The Japanese have a festival for every season. Maria Visconti dons her dancing geta and joins the fun.

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