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Discover the Sapporo Snow Festival

The Sapporo Snow Festival 2024 (Sapporo Snow Festival 2024 さっぽろ雪まつり) is an annual event held in the city of Sapporo, on the island of Hokkaido, Japan. It is one of the most famous winter festivals in the country and attracts a large number of both domestic and international visitors.

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The origin of the Sapporo Snow Festival (さっぽろ雪まつり).

The Sapporo Snow Festival began in 1950, when a group of six high school students from Sapporo built six snow sculptures in Odori Park in the center of the city. Their goal was to show the world Sapporo’s tourism potential and promote the city as an attractive destination for tourists, even during the cold winter months.

The idea for this event was inspired by a local snow sculpture contest that had been held in 1949 in the city of Otaru, also in Hokkaido Prefecture. The young students of Sapporo were inspired by this contest and decided to create their own snow festival.

The first Sapporo snow festival was held in 1950 and attracted the attention of local residents and met with a positive response. Over time, the event grew in popularity and attendance.

The snow sculptures became increasingly elaborate and detailed, which attracted the attention of tourists from other parts of Japan and the world.

Due to the success of the first edition, the organizers decided to make the Sapporo snow festival an annual event.

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Since then, the Sapporo Snow Festival has been held continuously every winter in the city.

Over the years, the Sapporo Snow Festival has gained national and international recognition and prestige.

As the snow and ice sculptures became more impressive and the festival activities expanded, it became an important event on Japan’s tourist calendar and attracted the attention of people from all over the world.

The Sapporo Snow Festival has been an important factor in attracting tourism during the winter season to the Hokkaido region and has contributed significantly to the local economy.

Today, the Sapporo Snow Festival is one of the most popular and highly anticipated events in Japan during the winter.

Over the years, it has grown in scale and has continued to attract millions of visitors who come to admire the majestic snow and ice sculptures, enjoy winter activities and immerse themselves in the culture of Hokkaido.

The creativity and effort of local and foreign artists participating in the snow sculpture competition continue to amaze spectators, and the festival remains a world-renowned winter event.

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When is the Sapporo Snow Festival 2024?

The Sapporo Snow Festival is held for one week in February. It usually takes place in the first week of February, although the exact dates may vary slightly each year.

The Sapporo Snow festival 2023 was held on February 4.

Sapporo Snow festival 2024 or Sapporo Snow festival 2024 will be held at Odori park from February 4 to February 11, 2024.

Venues of Sapporo snow festival 2024

Every year the sapporo snow festival is held in the same places, but I will show you which ones: Odori Park, Tsudome Park and Susukino Park.

sapporo snow festival

Parque Odori (Sapporo snow festival 2024)

Odori Park stretches for about 1.5 kilometers in the center of Sapporo and is the site of the huge snow sculptures, some of which reach heights of up to 15 meters.

In addition to the snow sculptures, ice sculptures are also on display and cultural events and performances are organized.

sapporo snow festival

Tsudome Park (Sapporo snow festival 2024)

Tsudome Park offers fun activities for the whole family, such as snow slides, playgrounds and sleigh rides.

It is an ideal place for children and families to enjoy the winter.

Susukino Park (Sapporo snow festival 2024)

Susukino Park is noted for its spectacular ice sculptures illuminated by colored lights.

Events and competitions are also held here.

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The sculptures of the Sapporo Snow Festival

The main attraction of the Sapporo snow festival are the impressive snow and ice sculptures on display at Odori Park and Susukino Park.

These sculptures are elaborate and detailed creations that often depict anime characters, famous landmarks, historical figures and other popular themes.

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  • Anime and manga characters: Sculptures of popular anime and manga characters are a recurring element at the festival. Iconic characters such as Pikachu, Doraemon, Naruto, Luffy, Hello Kitty and many others have been represented in the form of snow and ice sculptures.
  • Famous monuments: Detailed replicas of famous monuments and buildings of the world were also exhibited at the Sapporo snow festival 2023 and others. Examples include the Eiffel Tower, the Roman Colosseum, the Great Wall of China and Kyoto’s Kinkaku-ji Temple, among others.
  • Historical and cultural figures: Over the years, sculptures have depicted historical and cultural figures from both Japan and other countries. From historical leaders to literary and artistic figures, these sculptures highlight the importance of history and culture at the festival.
  • Mythological creatures: Sculptures of dragons, unicorns, tengu (Japanese demons) and other mythological creatures have been part of the festival, bringing a sense of magic and fantasy.
  • Natural landscapes: Sometimes the sculptures depict natural landscapes, such as snow-capped mountains, snow-covered forests and other scenic elements that capture the beauty of winter in Hokkaido.
  • Japanese icons: Iconic elements of Japanese culture, such as kimonos, samurai, geisha and castles, have also been common themes of the sculptures.
  • Illuminated ice sculptures: In Susukino Park, ice sculptures illuminated by colored lights are displayed at night, creating a magical and spectacular atmosphere.

Note: **During the Sapporo Snow Festival, various competitions related to snow and ice are organized. One of the most prominent competitions is the “International Snow Sculpture Competition“, in which teams of artists from different countries compete to create the best sculptures.

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Comida Sapporo Snow festival

During the Sapporo Snow Festival, visitors can also enjoy a wide variety of culinary delights, including local Hokkaido dishes such as ramen, seafood and fresh dairy products.

I will give you some examples that we saw at the Sapporo snow festival:

  • Ramen: Hokkaido is famous for its delicious ramen, and the festival offers a perfect opportunity to try this local specialty. There are many ramen stalls serving different varieties, from classic miso ramen to shio ramen and shoyu ramen.
  • Fresh seafood: Sapporo is located near the sea, which means you will find a wide variety of fresh seafood to enjoy. Crabs, such as the famous Hokkaido “kani”, are especially popular during the festival.
  • Corn soup: Corn soup is a very popular winter dish in Japan, and at the festival, you can try especially hot and comforting versions of this delicacy.
  • Yakiniku: A form of Japanese barbecue that has become emblematic in Hokkaido. Lamb or chicken meat is cooked on a grill with vegetables and served with a variety of delicious sauces.
  • Oden: Another traditional winter meal, oden is a casserole of various ingredients, such as eggs, tofu, fish and vegetables, cooked in a warm, flavorful broth.
  • Skewers (Yakitori): You can find different types of grilled skewers, such as chicken, beef and vegetables, marinated with delicious sauces.
  • Fresh milk and dairy products: Hokkaido is famous for its fresh milk and high quality dairy products. You can enjoy ice cream, yogurt and other dairy products during the festival.
  • Taiyaki: A fish-shaped pastry filled with a variety of flavors, such as sweet bean paste, chocolate, cream or cheese.
  • Hot drinks: To combat the cold, you can try hot drinks such as hot sake, amazake (a sweet non-alcoholic drink that in the evening we saw almost everyone trying) and coffee.
  • Desserts: In addition to ice cream and cakes, there is a wide variety of sweet desserts to enjoy, such as castella (spongy cake), meron pan (spongy bread) dango (sweet rice balls) the Mochi (with various fillings and textures) Kintsuba (crepe dough and anko filling) and manjū (stuffed pastries), among many others that I tell you about here.

Sapporo Snow Festival Gallery

We leave you a gallery with many pictures of the Sapporo snow festival.

Remember to check the weather in Japan that week, so you know what to wear and what the climate will be like.