The Sapporo Snow Festival (Sapporo Yuki-matsuri) is a festival held annually in Sapporo, Japan, over seven days in February. Odori Park, Susukino, and Tsudome are the main sites of the festival. The 2017 Snow Festival dates are 6 to 12 February at the Odori and Suskino sites and 1 to 12 February at the Tsudome site.
1st to 11th February
Not National Holiday
This is one of the largest and most distinctive winter events. In 2007 (57th 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.
An International Snow Sculpture Contest has been held at the Odori Parksite since 1974. And 14 teams from various regions of the world participated in 2008.
History of Sapporo Snow Festival
The Snow Festival began as a one-day event in 1950, when six local high school students built six snow statues in Odori Park. In 1955, the Japan Self-Defense Forces from the nearby Makomanai base joined in and built the first massive snow sculptures. For which the Snow Festival has now become famous. Several snow festivals existed in Sapporo prior to the Sapporo Snow Festival. However, all of these were suspended during World War II. On February 4, 1966 a flight from Sapporo to Tokyo crashed into Tokyo Bay killing all 126 passengers and 7 crew on board. Many of the passengers were returning to Tokyo after visiting the snow festival. Owing to the Energy crisis of 1974, snow statues were built using drums.
This was due to the shortage of gasoline caused by the crisis and many of the trucks used to carry snow to the site were unavailable. In the same year, the International Snow Statue Competition started and since that year many snow statues built by teams from other countries have featured especially from sister cities of Sapporo such as Munich. In years when the accumulated snowfall is low. The Self-Defense Force. For whom participation is considered a training exercise.
Brings in snow from outside Sapporo. The Makomanai base, one of three main sites from 1965, hosted the largest sculptures. With an emphasis on providing play space for children. Use of the Makomanai site suspended in 2005 and moved to the Sapporo Satoland site located in Higashi-ku from 2006. In 2009, the Satoland site moved to the Tsudome (Tsudomu, Sapporo Community Dome) site. The Tsudome, located close to the Sapporo Satoland, is a dome for multiple sports events.
The Sapporo Snow Festival started in 1950, when high school students built a few snow statues in Odori Park. It has since developed into a large, commercialized event. Featuring spectacular snow and ice sculptures and attracting more than two million visitors from Japan and across the world. Festival organizers said they expect 2 million people to visit the festival. Last year, 2.4 million visitors attended the festival.
There are 3 sites:
1. Odori Park (snow sculptures), 2. Susukino (ice sculptures), 3. Tsudome (family snow activities).
Odori Park(Snow Sculptures)
The main site is located in Odori Park. The park spans several blocks, featuring over a dozen giant snow sculptures that depict everything from popular Japanese anime characters to famous buildings from around the world. The festival’s famous large snow sculptures, some measuring more than 25 meters wide and 15 meters high, exhibited there. Some of these towering sculptures reach heights of more than 50 feet (15 meters). Comparable in size to the actual city buildings in the background! Notable sculptures of the last few years include the Taj Mahal, Nagoya Castle, and New York Yankee’s player Hideki Matsui. Besides about a dozen large snow sculptures. The Odori Site exhibits more than one hundred smaller snow statues and hosts several concerts and events. Many of which use the sculptures as their stag
Susukino (Ice Sculptures)
The Susukino Site, located in and named after Sapporo’s largest entertainment district, exhibits about one hundred ice sculptures. Susukino is located only one subway stop south of Odori Park. The second site is located just a 10-15 minute walk from Odori Park, in the entertainment district. Along Susukino Street you can view over 100 carefully hand-carved ice sculptures. Here you can also find ‘Fureaihiroba’ where you can touch or even ride on ice and elsewhere there is an ice bar where people can enjoy a drink.
Tsudome (Family Snow Activities)
The last site is about 10 minutes outside the city, and a more popular destination for families. Children can enjoy snow slides, tubing, and various musical performances.
The less centrally located Tsu Dome Site a family oriented site with three types of snow slides. Snow rafting and more snow sculptures. Inside the dome, there are many food stands and a stage for events.