In the coldest month of the year, the hottest ticket in Japan and perhaps the world is the Sapporo Snow Festival on Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido. More than two million visitors from all over the world descend. The capital of Hokkaido, which, when viewed, became a frozen fairy tale shining, shining, scintillating world.
Every February, the skyscrapers of Sapporo are decorated with structures and statues of frozen snow, creating Odori Park and paving the streets of a new city at their feet. Ice sculptures from the past feature everything from ancient Japanese temples, samurai and dragons to modern day athletes, ice maidens, political figures and 50 meter tall dinosaurs.
The current snow festival is the successor of a much smaller festival held in 1950. The efforts of a group of Sapporo high school students built six snowshoes in Odori Park and impressed park visitors so much that the tradition continued. Five years later, the Japan Self-Defense Forces stationed at the Makomanai base demonstrated the technique of building huge snow sculptures typical of snow festivals as an exercise.
Snow Festival Venue
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Makomanai Base is now one of the three main venues for the festival and is home to the largest sculptures; the third location where the ice sculpture competition takes place is in the Susukino area of Sapporo. During the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, the snow festival gained international popularity and the snow figure competition began two years later. The
Snow Festival is a truly social project where citizens create ice sculptures and help tourists, especially people with disabilities. They also provide tourist information and act as interpreters for the influx of foreign visitors. Snow festival hotel reservations must be made at least six months in advance.
Hotels near Snow Festival
Korakuen Hotel Sapporo offers
-star accommodations that are convenient to all of Sapporo’s parks and scenic areas and is ideal for business travelers.