The Sapporo Snow Festival - Explore Japan!
How The Great Snow Festival Started
The Japanese 'Sapporo Snow Festival' is just one more reason to visit Japan in your lifetime!
It is a beautiful festival that takes place in Sapporo, the capital of the most northern region of Japan: Hokkaido (北海道). This very special festival first came about in 1950 when 6 high school students decided to make 6 snow sculptures in Odori Park. After that, building snow sculptures in Odori Park became a tradition in the area and by 1955, even the local army base 真駒内 (makomanai) became interested in the event, deciding to create its own much larger snow sculptures.
Today the Sapporo Snow Festival is still very much alive and kicking - in fact (according to the official website) it is actually more popular than ever! Over 2 million people flock to see the wonderful sites every year.
- The event still takes place where it first began: Odori Park (in a place called 'Odori Site') but has now spread to "Susukino Site' and 'Tsu Dome Site' in order to accommodate more activities.
- The snow festival occurs annually and usually takes place at the beginning of February, lasting for around 7 days.
- The 2012 Snow Festival began on the 6th of February and lasted until the 12th.
- The 2013 Snow Festival is going to take place from the 5th until the 11th of February.
- An exact total of 400 ice sculptures is always seen during the festival!
- The Sapporo TV Tower opens itself to visitors for their use during the festival and acts as the perfect place to view the beautiful sites.
So What Can You Do There?
- Without a doubt the main attraction is the spectacular display of snow and ice sculptures at the three main sites of the festival. The sculptures vary, but some can even measure "25 meters wide and 15 meters high". These sculptures are lit up using special lights every day until 22:00 or 00:00, making the sculptures even more aesthetic.
An annual international snow sculpture competition is held at the Odori Site each year meaning that the quality of the snow sculptures is consistently unbelievably high.
- Snow stages are also built and various concerts (musical, dance etc.) are performed upon them, creating an ambient buzz to accompany the bustling excitement of the event. In fact, many concerts are held on the giant snow sculptures themselves!
- At the Tsu Dome Site, family fun is stressed and long slides for rafting down are created to offer children the chance to fully enjoy the snow. There is also a large maze crafted out of snow so you can test your dusty orientational skills out too!
- As well as pleasing your taste and visual senses, Hokkaido also offers its best local foods to the public at the event. A variety of unique seafood, dairy, and vegetable products can be purchased.
- Lastly, what good would a snow themed festival be without some snow themed sports?