The Sapporo Snow Festival is a festival held annually in Sapporo, Japan, over seven days in February.Sapporo hosts a giant festival of snow and ice. At the core of the festival are hundreds of snow and ice sculptures, but there are many other activities, ranging from snowboarding to a beauty contest. The festival takes place on three sites. The festival provides a great opportunity to immerse yourself in a fantasy world of glistening beauty and pure-white fun.
The festival’s main venue, Odori Park, stretches along the center of a wide avenue right at the heart of the city. It is where you can see the giant snow sculptures for which the festival is world-famous. These are built with the help of bulldozers and mechanical diggers in the days before the festival begins, and can be more than fifteen meters high. The snow is trucked in from various locations in Sapporo, or if it’s a relatively snow-free winter, from the surrounding hills.
There are usually about half a dozen of these giant sculptures, which often depict characters from Japanese cartoons or famous buildings from around the world. Recent years have seen snow versions of the UK’s ‘Wallace and Gromit’ and the Taj Mahal, as well as samurai castles and Japanese wildlife.
And don’t think that the festival is just about frozen art. If you’re feeling energetic, most years there’s an outdoor ice rink and a cross-country-skiing course. Other attractions have included ski-jump where you could watch displays put on by snowboarders, and performances by musicians ranging from military bands to pop stars put on stages made out of snow. There’s also a food park where you can sample some of the local specialties if you get hungry.