Sapporo Snow Festival 2016



Winter Wonderland Japan, vol. 2: Sapporo Snow Festival 2016


Main image: a snow sculpture of the Manila Cathedral from the 2015 Sapporo Snow Festival. 
A puppet opera performed on a stage made of snow during the 2015 Sapporo Snow Festival. Directed by Mr. Noriyuki Sawa.

During the winter of 1950, several local junior high and high school students built six snow sculptures in a park in Sapporo, the capital city of Japan's northernmost island Hokkaido. These statues were displayed as part of a modest festival that featured a snowball fight and a carnival. Incredibly, some fifty thousand visitors attended the event. This event became a yearly tradition known as the Sapporo Snow Festival and is now arguably Japan's most popular winter festival. Every year over two million visitors both from Japan and abroad come to marvel at snow and ice sculptures made by artists from around the world, and every year the event keeps getting better and better.

The Sapporo Snow Festival now takes place in three different venues: the Odori Park Site, the Tsudome Site, and the Susukino Site. Each site has different attractions for you to enjoy. In the second volume of our Winter Wonderland Japan series, we'll show you some of the highlights from last year's Snow Festival.

Odori Park 

The ice sculptures of the "Toy Town" in the Ice Square from 2015 were illuminated at night to create a fairy tale-like atmosphere.

The main venue is Odori Park, which stretches for thirteen blocks from east to west in the center of Sapporo. Here you'll find gigantic ice and snow sculptures for which the festival has gained international fame. You definitely don't want to miss the nighttime illuminations and other events, so bundle up nice and warm and go enjoy!
The snow sculpture of vocaloid star Hatsune Miku.

The super popular virtual singer Hatsune Miku will be making an appearance again at the Sapporo Snow Festival-- as a snow sculpture! Another thing to look forward to this year are special sculptures designed to celebrate the opening of the new Hokkaido Shinkansen.

Tsudome Site

One of the fun snow slides at the Tsudome Site.

Sculptures and snowy pop stars aren't the only things to enjoy at the Sapporo Snow Festival. At the Tsudome Site, you can rush down slides made of snow, try "snow rafting," and lots more! All ages are welcome to play here, so kids and kids at heart can let loose and have a blast.

Susukino Site

"The Dragon Palace of Okinawa." Inside the ice are real fish!

The Susukino Site is filled with incredible sculptures made of ice, some of which take around a week to make. There are contests for best sculpture as well as live ice carving demonstrations where you can watch an artist transform a block of ice into a masterpiece right before your eyes!

Food and Drink

The international food corner in Odori Park.

Hokkaido is considered to have some of the most delicious food in all of Japan thanks to its abundant farmland. Of the dining options available, we suggest checking out the international food corner located in the International Square (11-chome) inside Odori Park.
The Ice Bar at the Susukino Site.

Another option you wont want to miss is the Ice Bar at the Susukino Site where you can warm up with a hot drink or give a toast with an alcoholic option. Light foods are also available should you need something to snack on.

If you're considering going to the festival, definitely make your transportation and accommodation reservations as soon as possible as seats and rooms are limited! Also, Hokkaido winters are extremely cold, so don't forget to bring hats, gloves, ear muffs, and whatever else you need to keep warm!


67th Sapporo Snow Festival
Event Period
Odori Park and Susukino Site: Fri., February 5 - Thurs., February 11, 2016
Tsudome Site: Fri., February 5 - Thurs., February 18, 2016

Venue Information
Odori Park (Nishi 1 chome ~ Nishi 12 chome)
Event Period: Fri., February 5 - Thurs., February 11, 2016
Hours: No opening or closing time; illuminations are from sunset until 10:00pm
Access: 10min walk from JR Sapporo Station or Subway Odori Station (Nanboku, Tozai, and Toho Lines)
Tsudome Site
Event Period: Fri., February 5 - Thurs., February 18, 2016
Hours: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Access: 15min walk from Sakaemachi Station (Toho Line)
Susukino Site (Susukino Ice World)
Event Period: Fri., February 5 - Thurs., February 11, 2016
Hours: No opening or closing time; illuminations are turned off at 11:00pm (last day at 10:00pm)
Access: Subway Susukino Station (Nanboku Line)

Text translated by Rachael Ragalye

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