A Torch Relay has taken place before the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo ©Sapporo 2017

A whistlestop Torch Relay has taken place in Sapporo with less than two weeks to go until the Opening Ceremony of the Asian Winter Games.

The single day event coincided with the first day of the Sapporo Snow Festival in the Japanese city.

It followed the lighting of the Flame the previous evening.

Proceedings began with a departure ceremony at the former Hokkaido Government office building.

The Torch then travelled 2,200 metres across the city in two Relay legs.

Figure skater and Sapporo 2017 ambassador Mai Asada, elder sister of three-time world champion Mao, was among the Torch bearers alongside 35 local citizens.

It ended at Sapporo City Hall besides a cauldron from the 1972 Winter Olympics. 

An arrival ceremony then took place close by featuring Kamuinomori, a ritual of the indigenous people of Hokkaido known as Ainu, to pray for the success of the Games.

Traditional rituals formed part of the Sapporo 2017 Torch Relay ©Sapporo 2017
Traditional rituals formed part of the Sapporo 2017 Torch Relay ©Sapporo 2017

The Games flame was then divided to be displayed at City Halls in both Sapporo and co-host city Obihiro, the Hokkaido Government and 10 ward offices in Sapporo.

The Flames are due to be gathered again and will arrive at Sapporo Dome, the Opening Ceremony venue, on February 19.

Five sports, 11 disciplines and 64 events are due to be contested at the Games, which are due to continue until February 26.

Athletes from Australia and New Zealand are due to compete alongside Asian countries for the first time, although they will not be eligible to win medals.