Trip in Sapporo for the Snow Festival

February 2015 

Tour to Sapporo to visit Sapporo Snow Festival, an open-space festival hold every year in the middle of the winter, where world's most famous ice sculptors create ice and snow sculptures as big as palaces. This festival is possible thanks to the record snowfalls on Hokkaido island in northern Japan, one of the most snowiest place in the world.

Sapporo Sapporo, Hokkaido
Sapporo, Japan

Pictures of Sapporo. Sapporo is the main city and capital of Hokkaido island in northern Japan and is home to nearly two million people. The city is known mainly because hosts the famous winter Snow Festival, an event dedicated to ice and snow sculptures, which takes place every year around the first week of February.
Snow Festival Sapporo Snow Festival
As for most of Hokkaido island, Sapporo receives heavy winter snowfalls, which can produce an accumulation of snow up to six meters high. The abundance of snow allows professional sculptors who come from all around the world, to engage in the construction of snow and ice sculptures, often as big as palaces.
Snow festival in Japan Japan Snow Festival
The Snow Festival in Japan takes place in various parts of Sapporo city, although the main events are hold at Odori Park, a wide avenue a couple of kilometers long where, generally during the first week of February, these huge snow sculptures are built.
Sapporo Snow Festival 2015
The festival of snow sculptures in Sapporo (Sapporo Snow Festival) attracts also singers and other artists who perform under the ice sculptures.
Snow Festival in Sapporo Snow sculpture
The ice sculptures at Sapporo Snow Festival are spectacular both day and night, therefore, at least a full day (with an overnight in Sapporo) should be dedicated to visit this event. The festival attracts lot of visitors from Japan and other countries, so reserving hotel room and other services well in advance, is a good idea.
Snow sculptures
Some tourists are photographed with snow sculptures as background.
Snow statue Snow statues
Snowman Snowmen
Photos of Sapporo Snow Festival. The ice sculptures are not only impressive in size, in fact, a section of Odori park is dedicated to snowmen and smaller sculptures.
Ice sculptures festival
A real work of art, made with bricks of transparent ice, then lit by lamps that change color to the beat of music.
Ice sculptures Ice sculptures in Japan
These photos show more detail of the sculptures built with transparent ice bricks, rather than with simple compressed snow. The effect that is obtained by illuminating them from the inside with colored lamps, is particularly spectacular.
Ice sculpture
An exhibition of singers in front of a sculpture made by bricks of ice.
Snow castle
Picture of a huge palace made with tons of compressed snow. The design of the facade is really impressive.
Snow palace
Ice sculptor
An ice sculptor at work.
Snow sculptures in Japan Sapporo ice festival
During the night, even the smaller snow sculptures are illuminated with white light lamps.
The ice face.
Sapporo 2015 Japan snow sculptures

A huge statue of compressed snow dedicated to Star Wars, photographed both day and night.
Palace made of ice
Photos of Sapporo Snow Festival. Images of a building made with transparent ice bricks, where some children are entertained with various games.
Palace made with ice bricks
Ice rink
During the Snow Festival in Sapporo, visitors can try ice skating over a large rink.
Sapporo Compressed snow
Photos showing the details of the facades of the buildings made with compressed snow, during Sapporo Snow Festival 2015 in Japan. The festival lasts usually only one week, after which the statues are quickly demolished for safety reasons.
Ice statue
Photo of a transparent ice sculpture representing an eagle.
Ice bricks Ice wall
The ice bricks are particularly nice, as they are made from very compact ice which becomes transparent. In these photos, ice bricks were used to build a shelter used as a smoking area.
Snow trampoline Snowboard jump

During Sapporo Snow Festival 2015, Odori Park also hosted a large trampoline for acrobatics on skis and snowboard.
Sapporo Community Dome

About 20 minutes by bus from Odori Park in Sapporo,which hosts the main part of Snow Festival, there is the Community Dome, another area set up with ice sculptures and entertainment for adults or children.
Ice labyrinth
Among the various attractions at Community Dome in Sapporo, there is an ice maze (pictured above) and slides (pictured below).
A large snow structure allows to throw down with an inner tube, although the queue to access it may be a bit long.
Crying baby in the cold
Ice sculptures festival Ice statue in Sapporo
Festival ice sculptures in Japan
Hokkaido ice sculptures
Another area of Sapporo which hosts numerous ice sculptures during the Snow Festival, is Susukino district, a place within walking distance from Odori Park. Here there are numerous works of art, made mainly of transparent compressed ice.
Photos of ice sculptures in Sapporo.
An ice sculpture sponsored by a famous sushi restaurant in Sapporo.
Sapporo panorama
Sapporo TV Tower

An excursion rather popular in Sapporo is the climb on top of Sapporo TV Tower, from where you can get a panoramic view of the entire city and of the snow sculptures housed in Odori Park. The descent from the observation deck can be made on foot using an external staircase (photo below left).
Odori park Odori Sapporo
The Odori Park in Sapporo with a top view of ice sculptures, photographed from the observation deck on the TV Tower during the Snow Festival 2015.
Beer museum Sapporo beer museum
Beer museum Although the main reason for the tour in Sapporo was the Snow Festival, I make a brief visit to the interesting Beer Museum, where vintage bottles and posters, some more than a century old, are collected and displayed together with numerous items related to the production and the consumption of beer. The Sapporo Beer Museum is housed in the old beer factories and allows also to sample various brands of beer.
Fish market Japan fish market
Orange fish eggs

In Sapporo I visit also the local fish market, where visitors can also find some excellent salmon caviar (bottom left photo).

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