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Sapporo Snow Festival (さっぽろ雪まつり) or Sapporo Yuki Matsuri

Sapporo Travel Blog

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61st Sapporo Snow Festival
Today I had another early start. Left the hotel and walked over to the Hamamatsucho station, the starting point of the Monorail to Tokyo´s Haneda airport. I got the Limited Express and reached the airport in 23 minutes. If you get on the slow train it will take you 26 minutes!

Check-in was very efficient so I had plenty of time before my flight. I walked through the terminal in search for a place to have breakfast. There were enough of places to choose from, coffee and croissants I can have at home, so I picked a Japanese restaurant where I ordered tempura. Maybe not what one usually eat for breakfast, but hey, I´m in Japan and I enjoy this dish.

My flight with ANA was good and we arrived Sapporo on time. A quick Kaisoku train did the 41 km from New Chitose Airport to JR Sapporo staion in 36 minutes.
Tokyo´s Haneda airport
From here it was just a 5 minutes walk to my hotel. I arrived early, but was allowed to check-in. Got my room and just dropped off my bag. Was so eager to finally see the Snow Festival.

I walked down to the Odōri Kōen where the Sapporo Snow Festival is held every year. To get an overview I started with a visit to the Sapporo TV Tower which is located at the east end of the Odōri Park. There is no way you can miss this tower as it is a red version of the Eiffel Tower. Getting to the 3rd floor where there are a restaurant and a souvenir shop is free, but if you want to visit the viewing deck 90 m up you need to buy a ticket, but do so at the ground floor. From the viewing deck you have a 360 degree view of Sapporo. Back down again I started my stroll through the 7 block long Odōri Park.
Haneda airport
And like everything else in Japan, this "stroll" too, is very organized. It is a one way walk. Through loudspeakers all over the park they make sure to remind you of it. If you accidentally go the wrong way, no one will say anything, but you will have many eyes staring at you.

The Sapporo Snow Festival began spontaneously in 1950 when local junior and senior high school students built six snow statues in Odōri Park. In addition to the snow sculptures, The Snow Festival had a snowball fight and a carnival. More than 50.000 people attended making it a great success. The Sapporo Snow Festival is now recognized internationally as a major winter artistic event. Here you can see ice and snow sculptures depicting historical figures, buildings, celebs and even international pop icons like Hello Kitty and Michael Jackson.
Check-in area


The first big sculpture you see if you start from the Sapporo TV Tower is "The zoo of the northland". This sculpture is sponsored by Japan Airlines. They work to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from its fleet of commercial aircraft while using its unique position to raise awareness about environmental protection. Snow sculptures of the polar bears and snow leopard at the Sapporo Maruyama Zoo and the orangutans at Asahikama´s Asahiyama Zoo represents just a few of the animals that are in danger of disappearing from the earth. We humans are the only ones who can protect the environment on this earth we all call our home!

Between the big sculptures are many small ones. There are also many food stalls along the way. Most of them representing food from Hokkaido.
Self check-in machines
A few foreign countries have also been invited to represent with their own specialities. These were countries like Brazil, Greece, India, Iran, Mexico and Russia. My favorite became the Sushidokoro Tatsutoshi where they served excellent crab and scampi.

Every year the Sapporo Snow Festival devotes the 7 blocks of Odōri Park to a special international display which highlights a piece of international architecture. This year the main sculpture was the Dresdner Fraunekirche. To get an idea of how big this sculpture is, its measures are: height 26m, width 28m and depth 20m. It took 439 trucks of snow and 4730 people to build it. The church was chosen to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the tearing down of the Berlin Wall in 2009, the 20th anniversary of the reunification of Germany in 2010 and the 150 year of German-Japanese diplomatic relations in 2011.
Departure hall


It was amazing to see all these ice and snow sculptures. Incredible what they can make out of snow. After having spent the hole day outside I was pretty cold, so I went back to my hotel for a rest and a nice dinner. I was wondering what the snow sculptures look like at night so I put the woolen underwear back on and set off again back to the Odōri Park. In front of most of the big sculptures there was a stage and on each stage a concert. There were only Japanese artists singing in Japanese, so I could not understand anything, but it was good music and it made a good atmosphere. Most of the sculptures were also lit, some in white light only and others in all kinds of colours. It was quite a sight.

sarahsan says:
Sorry to hear that you had snow every day Jordan. Despite the weather I hope that you enjoyed the snow and ice sculptures. I know it's no comfort to you, but on my last day it was raining!
Posted on: Feb 21, 2013
hauteboy says:
We just got back from the Snow Festival Last week. Looks like you had nicer weather, it actually snowed every day we were there!
Posted on: Feb 21, 2013
reikunboy says:
was it very cold. I'm saving up for next year but I say that every year. The thing is it costs like 100,000 yen to go here for the weekend times that by 3 and I could take my family overseas for that price.
Posted on: Mar 07, 2010
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61st Sapporo Snow Festival
61st Sapporo Snow Festival
Tokyo´s Haneda airport
Tokyo´s Haneda airport
Haneda airport
Haneda airport
Check-in area
Check-in area
Self check-in machines
Self check-in machines
Departure hall
Departure hall
My Japanese restaurant
My Japanese restaurant
Inside the restaurant
Inside the restaurant
My tempura breakfast
My tempura breakfast
Flight NH55 from gate 52
Flight NH55 from gate 52
Café in the gate area
Café in the gate area
Leaving sunny Tokyo.......
Leaving sunny Tokyo.......
..... arriving snowy Sapporo
..... arriving snowy Sapporo
New Chitose airport, Sapporo
New Chitose airport, Sapporo
JR Sapporo station
JR Sapporo station
JR Sapporo Tower
JR Sapporo Tower
Outside JR Sapporo station
Outside JR Sapporo station
Sapporo TV tower
Sapporo TV tower
Skating rink in front of Sapporo T…
Skating rink in front of Sapporo …
Food stall
Food stall
Skating rink seen from Sapporo TV …
Skating rink seen from Sapporo TV…
View of Sapporo
View of Sapporo
View of Sapporo
View of Sapporo
View of Odōri kōen and the snow …
View of Odōri kōen and the snow…
Girl playing keyboard
Girl playing keyboard
The zoo of the northland
The zoo of the northland
Orangutan
Orangutan
Polar bears
Polar bears
Polar bears
Polar bears
Snow leopard
Snow leopard
Snow leopard
Snow leopard
Snow leopard
Snow leopard
Snow leopard
Snow leopard
Snow leopard
Snow leopard
Mini & Mickey (sponsored by Disney…
Mini & Mickey (sponsored by Disne…
Iolani Palace
Iolani Palace
Iolani Palace
Iolani Palace
Iolani Palace
Iolani Palace
Detail of the palace
Detail of the palace
Food stall
Food stall
Food stall
Food stall
Food stall
Food stall
Food court
Food court
My favorite food stall with crab a…
My favorite food stall with crab …
Waiting to cross the street
Waiting to cross the street
Slide
Slide
Dresdner Frauenkirche (Height: 26m…
Dresdner Frauenkirche (Height: 26…
Dresdner Frauenkirche (Height: 26m…
Dresdner Frauenkirche (Height: 26…
South Korean temple  (Height: 15m,…
South Korean temple (Height: 15m…
South Korean temple
South Korean temple
South Korean temple
South Korean temple
South Korean temple
South Korean temple
Hidden scaffolding behind the Sout…
Hidden scaffolding behind the Sou…
Hello Kitty
Hello Kitty
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
Slide
Slide
Slide
Slide
Hanoman Duta (Indonesia)
Hanoman Duta (Indonesia)
Kraithong is Thai folklore which t…
Kraithong is Thai folklore which …
Kraithong (Thailand)
Kraithong (Thailand)
Fly free (Hawaii)
Fly free (Hawaii)
Smiling Great Budda (People´s Rep…
Smiling Great Budda (People´s Re…
Sauna, Sisu & Sibelius (Finland)
Sauna, Sisu & Sibelius (Finland)
Bowl of life (USA, sister city Por…
Bowl of life (USA, sister city Po…
Ghost Warrior - Zhong Kui (Hong Ko…
Ghost Warrior - Zhong Kui (Hong K…
Ghost Warrior - Zhong Kui (Hong Ko…
Ghost Warrior - Zhong Kui (Hong K…
Hello Kitty
Hello Kitty
Simpson
Simpson
Eco-Singapore (Singapore)
Eco-Singapore (Singapore)
Mascot of the 61st Sapporo Snow Fe…
Mascot of the 61st Sapporo Snow F…
Cross country track
Cross country track
Sapporo TV tower by night
Sapporo TV tower by night
The zoo of the northland
The zoo of the northland
Disney
Disney
Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson
Concert in front of Iolani Palace
Concert in front of Iolani Palace
Concert in front of Iolani Palace
Concert in front of Iolani Palace
Iolani Palace
Iolani Palace
Dresdner Frauenkirche
Dresdner Frauenkirche
Dresdner Frauenkirche
Dresdner Frauenkirche
Concert in front of the South Kore…
Concert in front of the South Kor…
South Korean temple
South Korean temple
Consert in front of South Korean t…
Consert in front of South Korean …
Three young artists
Three young artists
Three young artist
Three young artist
Concert in front of the South Kore…
Concert in front of the South Kor…
Sapporo Hotels & Accommodations review
A nice place to stay in Sapporo
Since this was my first time in Sapporo it was just a coincidence that I picked Hotel New Otani Sapporo. It was the location that appealed to me. I bo… read entire review
Sapporo
photo by: bensonryan