Sapporo Snow Festival (さっぽろ雪まつり) or Sapporo Yuki Matsuri
Sapporo Travel Blog› entry 12 of 14 › view all entries
February 9th, 2010 – by: sarahsan
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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