As one of Japan’s most recognizable events of the year, the Snow Festival in Sapporo turns this far northern city into a prime attraction during its cold winter times. The vast majority of our readers will be familiar with the event for its massive snow sculptures on display during the early week of February and are probably equally so tempted to go experience it themselves, so let us take a look at what you can expect and take a closer look at some of the practical matters.
First off, although it might seem quite logical, please do bring warm clothing, gloves, thick socks and all those other goodies that you would probably bring with you to the artic because Sapporo does get extremely cold around this time of the year. The temperature is most likely the most important factor you have to take into account when visiting the festival so I would recommend it is better be over prepared than to regret not being prepared at all.
Moving on the three main sites to enjoy the Sapporo Snow Festival, we will first start off with the main event at Odori Park in the city’s center. The immense snow sculptures measuring more than 20 meters wide and up to 5 stories high, which might have been your main reason to visiting the event, can be found here. Usually a central theme can be defined for most of the sculpture, which Sci-Fi could ever forget about the massive Star Wars sculpture last year? During the day these statues are lit up until 22:00 while the park also exhibits over a hundred smaller sculptures and hosts dozens of concerts and events. The observatory of the nearby Sapporo TV Tower offers an amazing view across the park for just a few hundred yen.
A bit further along the road you will find the second snow sculpture location in Sapporo’s entertainment district, Susukino. Since the about one hundred ice sculpture exhibited here are lit up until 23:00 those who want to experience the nightlife in Sapporo will easily find dozens of bars, restaurants and cafes to enjoy after taking a look at the ice sculptures.
For the final location we have to move outside central Sapporo to Tsu Dome open every day from 9:00 to 17:00 and accessible by a shuttle bus departing every 10 minute from central Sapporo. Tsu Dome is ideal for families as it features large snow slides and rafting apart from the sculptures. For a quick bite to eat there are plenty of food venues inside the dome itself, where events are also taking place regularly.