Sapporo Snow Festival



The Sapporo snow festival is an event of grand scale and one not to be missed. And the festival coincides perfectly with the peak of Hokkaido’s incredible ski season so you can kick off or finish up your ski vacation with this unique experience.

The Snow Festival is held in Odori Park in the heart of Sapporo’s CBD. It begins approximately the second week of February and runs for 7 days. The festival began in the 1950s on a very small scale and has slowly grown into the extraordinary spectacle it is today. Imagine huge, pristine, glistening white snow sculptures dwarfing a continuous snake of visitors weaving through them.

The festivals international fame is well deserved. It has more than 140 enormous snow sculptures taking up 11 city blocks and features contributions from 14 different nations. From its humble beginnings as a local school project the festival now attracts over 2million visitors a year. The construction of this gargantuan installation is no mean feat, many of the locally designed sculptures are constructed by the Japanese Self Defense Force, others by a mish mash of artistic folk from as close as Asia and as far away as Sweden.

A little further down the road in the entertainment district of Susukino you will find the main road closed to traffic for the week. The usually hectic main street replaces its hundreds of taxis with a bedazzling array of ice sculptures many of which have a distinctly fishy theme and even contain such oceanic treasures as crab and snapper. The fine craftsmanship and beauty of these sculptures is a nice contrast to the monstrous creations in Odori and is also a fantastic opportunity to experience the nightlife of Susukino.

Whether you make a special trip just to see the snow festival or you happen to time your ski holiday to coincide with the event a visit to the festival is always rewarding. For more detailed information on the festival check out





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Joel Westcot