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Sapporo Snow Festival

An annual festival in Sapporo, Japan over seven days in February.

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Winter Wonderland

  • Feb 11, 2010
The recent snow hazards in DC area reminds me of how global warming has created havoc to global climate and the inconveniences others have to put up with the increasing amount of snow. However, there is one place or may be two that must be pleased with that extra amount of snow. Yes, the city of Sapporo in Northern Japan & the city of Harbin in Northern China. These are 2 cities in the world that has annual festival of snow and ice carvings every Winter. Sapporo for a mere 7 day while Harbin for slightly more than a month. The weather? Well, if you can tolerate -20 to -30 deg. C, this is the place for you! ;-)

Ahhhhhh...THE SNOW FESTIVAL (YUKI MATSURI) at Sapporo! Heard about it, planned for it & here I came... in the 2nd week of February (many years ago!). This annual competition of ice sculpture at ODORI PARK is a major attraction of Sapporo in the 1st & 2nd week of February. Spectaculars models of feudal castles & giant samurai warriors can be spotted! Sapporo transformed into a fairytale land, just magical!

HOKKAIDO is the 2nd largest island of Japan & lies at the northern tip of Japan. Accounting for only 5% of Japan's population but with a land area of 1/5 of Japan, Hokkaido is vast. Coming here is like coming to an entirely different world compared to the island of Honshu (where Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Kobe & Nikko are situated). Hot springs & observation of unspoiled wilderness with many wildlife forms are 2 major activities enjoyed here.

SAPPORO is the capital of Hokkaido & is nationally famous (if not world famous!) for its beer (introduced in 1870 by a German brewer). There's even a Beer Garden located north-east of downtown!

2010 Sapporo Snow Festival
One of Japan's largest winter events, over 2 million people visit this annual event to see hundreds of beautiful snow statues & ice sculptures which lined ODORI PARK, the grounds of the Self Defense Force Base in Makomanai & the main street in Susukino. The event is held for 7 days from Feb. 5 to Feb. 11. Due to the shortage of snow in the immediate area of the festival sites, huge volumes of snow (6500 five-ton truckloads) are carried in from the suburbs. Work will begin 3 weeks before the festival. More than 200 statues will be displayed every festival. This year, there are 244 in total. As with the ice carvings in Harbin, the statues will be lighted up in the evening.

A single giant snow statue generally requires at least 2000 cubic meters of snow!
First, a wooden frame is built & filled with tightly packed snow. When the snow has hardened, the frame panels are removed & the carving began. Shovels are used for the rough shaping of the statue while other tools are used to add the finishing touches.

That's a lot of work for a mere 7 day festival. However, everyone enjoys it tremendously and 2010 is already the 61st Snow Festival. Well, 2010 festival is over, I'd better plan for 2011! ;-)
Winter Wonderland Winter Wonderland

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April 08, 2010
Just awesome
February 14, 2010
I wanna go here! Looks splendid and sounds amazing :)
February 11, 2010
When I saw "Sapporo", I instantly thought that this was maybe a beer fest LMAO. nice one again.
February 14, 2010
ME TOO! Does that make us alcoholics? :x
February 14, 2010
The power of advertising ;-) & social conditioning ;p
February 14, 2010
About the reviewer
Sharrie ()
Ranked #3
I'm a traveler at heart & have been nicknamed Travel Queen by friends & colleagues alike. Traveling has been my life passion for the last decade or so. As we enter a new decade, I'm excited … more
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The Sapporo Snow Festival is a famous festival held annually in Sapporo, Japan over seven days in February. Currently, Odori Park, Susukino, and Tsudome are the main sites of the festival. In 2009, it was held from February 5 to February 11.

The festival is one of Japan's largest and most distinctive winter events. In 2007 (58th Festival), about two million people visited Sapporo to see the hundreds of snow statues and ice sculptures at the Odori Park and Susukino sites, in central Sapporo, and at the Satoland site. The festival is thought to be an opportunity for promoting international relations. International Snow Sculpture Contest has been held at the Odori Park site since 1974, and 14 teams from various regions of the world participated in 2008.

The subject of the statues varies and often features an event, famous building or person from the previous year. For example, in 2004, there were statues of Hideki Matsui, the famous baseball player who at that time played for the New York Yankees. A number of stages made out of snow are also constructed and some events including musical performances are held. At the Satoland site, visitors can enjoy long snow and ice slides as well as a huge maze made of snow. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of regional foods from all over Hokkaidō at the Odori Park and Satoland sites, such as fresh seafood, potatoes and corn, and fresh dairy products.

Every year the number of statues displayed is around 400 in total. In 2007, ...
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Travel, Japan, Festivals, Ice Carvings, Sapporo


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