One of the 4 biggest festivals in Japan is the Snow Festival held in Sapporo, Hokkaido. This year it was held from Feb 5-11 and I finally got to go. The festival celebrates winter and hosts some of the most amazing snow and ice sculptures, plus some wonderful activities for children and adults. There are three main locations: Odori, Susukino and Tsudome with other areas around Sapporo also having their own events too, so pretty much anywhere you travel you can enjoy the snow and festival atmosphere! Be prepared to book well in advance because the festival is very popular so hotels and flights sell out quickly.
I arrived late on the 6th and there were huge tour groups arriving with each plane. On the 7th, I went to look around with my friend which was probably one of the busiest days. Early on in the day we went to the Tsudome area which hosted most of the locally made statues and also loads of fun activities for children. There were ice slide,zips wires, a snow maze. Serious fun for the little ones but some quite long queues too.
After that we took the shuttle bus to central Sapporo. Me and my friend got lunch quickly and then headed to what I consider the main part of the festival, the Odori area. There were 12 blocks just packed full of different snow related activities and displays that you could easily spend the whole day there.My favourite big snow sculpture was definitely the Star Wars one, made to advertise the new movie, which was just epid! This year especially a lot of the sculptures incorporated projection mapping so it was best to see these after dark and watch some already breathtaking sculptures turn into dynamic entertainment. I really enjoyed the Candy Crush Soda section but I think it didn’t make much sense to people that hadn’t ever tried the game.
Before ending the
very long day me and my friend took a detour through Susukino to look at the ice sculptures. This was pretty lucky because it started to rain not long after and most of them got ruined. The downside of perishable art work I guess. I honestly preferred the ice-sculptures in Odori but the ones in Susukino were still interesting and were good advertising for the local area.
If you ever get the chance I seriously recommend this festival. It’s not as cold as people will warn you and you can see some of the most breathtaking ice and snow art in the world.