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Japan: Sapporo Snowfestival

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Sapporo Snowfestival | Japan | Asia

[Visited: February 1999]

Already for years it has been my wish yo see the Snow Festival in Hokkaido. In 1995, I naievely assumed that the huge snow statues and buildings would remain visible until they melted, but this seemed not to be the case when I arrived 2 days after the closure. As soon as I found out the dates of the festival in 1999, I managed to get to Japan in the right time. And I was certainly not disappointed.

Picture of Sapporo Snowfestival (Japan): Frozen fish in Sapporo Snow Festival

The festival is actually held in three sites around the city of Sapporo, each of which has its special character. Apart from the famous Sapporo festival, there are other smaller and less known festivals around the island. The Makomanai site is designed mainly for family visitors, to entertain kids, but also has some huge snow structures; the most notable of which was the Buda Castle. By far the largest site is Odori, where almost endless rows of snow statues and buildings can be seen, some similar to each other, some very original. Here also some large buildings could be seen, even details carved meticulously into the snow.

Picture of Sapporo Snowfestival (Japan): Sapporo Snow festival

But for me the finest example of the displays were the ice sculptures on Susukino. Animals, mythical figures, symbols are carved out in a very fine artistic way, made only of ice. Especially at night the light effects through the ice structures is incredible. It is really a pity that these forms of art, not threatened by the destructive forces of thaw, are destroyed after the end of the festival. Some of them would deserve an impossible eternity among other masterpieces of sculpture.

Picture of Sapporo Snowfestival (Japan): Sapporo Snow festival
Picture of Sapporo Snowfestival (Japan): Ice building with sea creatures
Picture of Sapporo Snowfestival (Japan): Snow-made Napoleon and Paris building
Picture of Sapporo Snowfestival (Japan): Many snowmen with letters on display in Sapporo
Picture of Sapporo Snowfestival (Japan): Sapporo Snow festival with many small snowmen
Picture of Sapporo Snowfestival (Japan): Ice building in the Sapporo Snow festival
Picture of Sapporo Snowfestival (Japan): Mammoth in the Sapporo Snow festival
Picture of Sapporo Snowfestival (Japan): Snow-made Paris landmark in Sapporo snow festival
Picture of Sapporo Snowfestival (Japan): Owl sculpted out of snow
Picture of Sapporo Snowfestival (Japan): Ice sculptures in a street in Sapporo

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