Discover the Magic of Sapporo Snow Festival

The Sapporo Snow Festival is one of the most iconic winter events in Japan, attracting millions of visitors from around the world each year. Held in the city of Sapporo on the northern island of Hokkaido, this festival showcases incredible snow and ice sculptures, creating a magical winter wonderland for all to enjoy. The festival has a rich history and offers a wide range of attractions and activities for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re a winter enthusiast or simply looking for a unique and unforgettable experience, the Sapporo Snow Festival is a must-visit destination.

History of Sapporo Snow Festival: How It All Began

The Sapporo Snow Festival traces its roots back to 1950 when a group of high school students built six snow statues in Odori Park, the main venue for the festival. The sculptures were an instant hit and attracted thousands of visitors. Inspired by this success, the city decided to make it an annual event, and thus, the Sapporo Snow Festival was born.

Over the years, the festival has grown in scale and popularity. What started as a small local event now attracts millions of visitors from all over the world. The snow sculptures have become more elaborate and intricate, with professional artists and teams from around the globe participating in the competition. In addition to snow sculptures, the festival also features ice sculptures, concerts, performances, and various other events and activities.

The Best Time to Visit Sapporo Snow Festival: Tips for Planning Your Trip

The Sapporo Snow Festival takes place every year in early February, usually lasting for about a week. This is the best time to visit if you want to experience the festival at its peak. However, it’s important to note that this is also one of the busiest times in Sapporo, so it’s advisable to plan your trip well in advance.

When planning your trip, it’s important to consider the weather conditions and the availability of accommodations and flights. Sapporo experiences cold temperatures during the winter, with average temperatures ranging from -3°C to -8°C (26°F to 18°F). It’s essential to pack warm clothing and layers to stay comfortable during your visit.

Accommodations in Sapporo can fill up quickly during the festival, so it’s recommended to book your hotel or guesthouse well in advance. Flights to Sapporo can also be in high demand, so it’s advisable to book your tickets early or consider alternative airports nearby.

Top Attractions at Sapporo Snow Festival: Must-See Exhibits and Events

The Sapporo Snow Festival offers a wide range of attractions and events for visitors to enjoy. The main venue of the festival is Odori Park, where you’ll find the most impressive snow sculptures. These sculptures can reach heights of up to 15 meters (49 feet) and are illuminated at night, creating a breathtaking sight.

Another popular venue is Susukino, Sapporo’s entertainment district, which features ice sculptures and various events and performances. The ice sculptures in Susukino are known for their intricate details and vibrant colors.

One of the highlights of the festival is the International Snow Sculpture Contest, where teams from around the world compete to create the most impressive snow sculptures. This competition attracts talented artists who transform blocks of snow into stunning works of art.

Other attractions at the festival include snow slides, ice skating rinks, food stalls offering local delicacies, and live performances by musicians and dancers. There’s something for everyone at the Sapporo Snow Festival.

Food and Drinks at Sapporo Snow Festival: Indulge in Local Delicacies

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No visit to the Sapporo Snow Festival is complete without indulging in the local cuisine. Hokkaido is known for its fresh seafood, dairy products, and hearty dishes that are perfect for the cold winter weather.

One must-try dish is the famous Hokkaido ramen, a hearty noodle soup made with a rich and flavorful broth. Another popular dish is Genghis Khan, a grilled lamb dish that is a specialty of Hokkaido. You can also find a wide variety of seafood dishes, such as sushi, sashimi, and grilled seafood.

To warm up during the festival, be sure to try some hot drinks like amazake (sweet fermented rice drink), hot chocolate, or mulled wine. And don’t forget to sample some of Hokkaido’s famous dairy products, such as ice cream and cheese.

Activities and Entertainment: Fun for the Whole Family

The Sapporo Snow Festival offers a wide range of activities and entertainment options for visitors of all ages. Families with children will find plenty of attractions to keep them entertained throughout their visit.

One of the highlights for kids is the snow slides, where they can slide down on tubes or sleds. There are different sizes and slopes available, catering to children of all ages. The ice skating rinks are also popular among families, providing a fun and enjoyable activity for everyone.

For those looking for a more cultural experience, there are traditional Japanese performances such as taiko drumming, shamisen music, and traditional dance. You can also participate in workshops where you can learn how to make traditional Japanese crafts or try your hand at snow sculpting.

How to Stay Warm: Dressing for the Cold and Other Tips

When visiting the Sapporo Snow Festival, it’s important to dress appropriately for the cold weather. Layering is key to staying warm and comfortable during your visit. Start with thermal or woolen undergarments, followed by a sweater or fleece, and then a thick winter coat. Don’t forget to wear a hat, gloves, and a scarf to protect your extremities from the cold.

It’s also important to wear warm and waterproof footwear, as the festival grounds can get wet and slippery. Opt for insulated boots or waterproof hiking shoes to keep your feet warm and dry.

In addition to dressing appropriately, it’s also important to stay hydrated and nourished during your visit. The cold weather can be dehydrating, so be sure to drink plenty of fluids and eat warm and hearty meals to keep your energy levels up.

Getting Around Sapporo: Transportation Options for Visitors

Sapporo has a well-developed transportation system that makes it easy for visitors to get around the city and navigate the festival grounds. The city has an extensive subway network, which is the most convenient way to travel within Sapporo. The subway system connects major attractions and venues, including Odori Park and Susukino.

If you prefer to explore the city on foot, Sapporo is a pedestrian-friendly city with wide sidewalks and well-maintained streets. Many of the festival venues are within walking distance of each other, making it easy to explore multiple attractions in a day.

For those who prefer not to walk or take public transportation, taxis are readily available throughout the city. However, it’s important to note that taxis can be expensive in Japan, so it’s advisable to use them sparingly.

Other Winter Activities in Sapporo: Explore the City Beyond the Festival

While the Sapporo Snow Festival is undoubtedly the highlight of winter in Sapporo, there are plenty of other winter activities to enjoy in the city. If you have extra time during your visit, consider exploring some of these attractions.

One popular activity is visiting the Sapporo Beer Museum, where you can learn about the history of beer in Japan and sample different varieties of Sapporo beer. Another must-visit attraction is the Sapporo Winter Sports Museum, which showcases the city’s rich winter sports history and offers interactive exhibits.

If you’re a fan of winter sports, Sapporo has several ski resorts in the surrounding area where you can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and other winter activities. Mount Moiwa is also a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts, offering stunning views of the city and a variety of activities such as snowshoeing and sledding.

Why Sapporo Snow Festival Should Be on Your Bucket List

The Sapporo Snow Festival is a unique and unforgettable experience that should be on every winter enthusiast’s bucket list. From the incredible snow and ice sculptures to the delicious local cuisine and family-friendly activities, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at this festival.

The festival’s rich history and evolution over the years make it a truly special event that showcases the creativity and talent of artists from around the world. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a returning guest, the Sapporo Snow Festival never fails to impress.

So, if you’re looking for a winter adventure like no other, make sure to add the Sapporo Snow Festival to your travel bucket list. Bundle up, embrace the cold, and discover the magic of this incredible winter wonderland.


What is the Sapporo Snow Festival?

The Sapporo Snow Festival is an annual winter event held in Sapporo, Japan. It is one of the largest and most famous snow festivals in the world.

When is the Sapporo Snow Festival held?

The Sapporo Snow Festival is held every year in early February. The festival usually lasts for about a week.

What are the main attractions of the Sapporo Snow Festival?

The main attractions of the Sapporo Snow Festival are the snow sculptures. These sculptures are made by artists from all over the world and can be as tall as 15 meters. There are also ice sculptures, food stalls, and various events and activities.

How long has the Sapporo Snow Festival been held?

The Sapporo Snow Festival has been held since 1950. It started as a small event with only six snow sculptures, but it has grown into a major international festival.

How many visitors does the Sapporo Snow Festival attract?

The Sapporo Snow Festival attracts millions of visitors every year. In 2020, the festival attracted over 2 million visitors.

What is the history of the Sapporo Snow Festival?

The Sapporo Snow Festival was first held in 1950, when a group of high school students built six snow sculptures in Odori Park. The festival was suspended for a few years due to economic difficulties, but it was revived in 1955 and has been held every year since then.

What is the significance of the Sapporo Snow Festival?

The Sapporo Snow Festival is significant because it showcases the beauty and creativity of snow and ice sculptures. It also promotes tourism and cultural exchange, as artists from all over the world come to participate in the festival.