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Sapporo is known for its snow and winter sports, it is the largest city and capital of the island of Hokkaido and the fifth largest in Japan. Famous for its winter that completely covers the entire city with snow, forming a spectacular landscape that attracts thousands of visitors.
One of the best months to travel to the city is in February, as the Sapporo Yuki Matsuri week, or Sapporo Snow Festival, is celebrated, an event that presents ice and snow sculptures that are very famous in the world. Sapporo has achieved rapid growth from a settlement to a thriving metropolis, it is not as old a city like others in Japan.
Currently, Sapporo is known in addition to its winter and festival for its famous for its ramen, beer, and North American style rectangular road system, an amazing place to spend the winter with its activities and views.
What to see and do in Sapporo?
Surrounded by beautiful gardens, art, culture, and especially major events, Sapporo is a wonderful winter destination for its famous sculpture event that attracts thousands of people. It is a place with a lot to offer and activities to do, walking through its streets means discovering the essence of Japan and enjoying incredible views.
Sapporo Snow Festival
It is the most representative and the main event of the city, it is celebrated at the beginning of February and each year it attracts more than two million visitors, both from Japan and from all over the world. Its history dates back to the year 1950 with some high school students who built six snow statues in Odori Park; Surprisingly, the creations attracted fifty thousand visitors.
Later in 1955, the Self Defense Force got together to build a massive snow sculpture. By 1959 more than 2,500 people participated in the creation of a snow sculpture, it was in that year that the festival first attracted national media attention.
However, the event was further popularized when Sapporo hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics, reaching international audiences and creating fame for the popular winter festival. In it, you will see impressive snow and ice sculptures, it is usually held in three different places in and around Sapporo: Odori Park, Tsu-dome Precinct, and Susukino Precinct.
The Sapporo Snow Festival usually brings together around 400 snow and ice sculptures. The vast majority are located in Odori Park, a hundred in Susukino, and a few in Tsu-dome. There are various sculptures that are presented, with national and international artists. Combine lights, stunning works of art, and shows everywhere.
Odori Park is one of the main tourist spots in the city, located in the center of Sapporo. with beautiful flower gardens, grass meadows and trees inside that form an incredible landscape. It has a length of 1.5 kilometers occupying about 7.8 hectares, its design was made by Nagaoka Yasuhei more than a hundred years ago.
The park hosts the celebration of the lilac festival, the Yosakoi Soran Festival, and the snow festival, events with a great tradition and essence among the inhabitants of Sapporo.
Every February, the famous Sapporo Snow Festival is held. From the end of July to the middle of August, a huge beer garden appears in this park. A Bon Odori (Japanese-style dance) festival is held in mid-August, so visiting this park always means having some special activity to discover.
The park is divided into five themed zones called “Flowers”, “Meeting”, “Frontier”, “Oasis” and “Interchange”. Inside the park is the symbol of Sapporo, the 147.2-meter-high television tower, from where you can see a spectacular view of the entire city. In addition, the park also has fountains, statues, and a stage, ideal for enjoying a quiet walk.
Throughout the year, numerous plants such as cherry trees bloom, which in spring attract travelers from all regions of Japan. You can also buy typical Sapporo items and souvenirs, t-shirts, bags, cell phone covers, handicrafts, among other items.
Odori Park is located next to Odori Station on the Tohoku, Nanboku, and Toho subway lines. From JR Sapporo station you walk 15 minutes to reach the park, there is a 366-space underground car park that connects directly to the mall.
Stroll through Susukino
It is the city’s entertainment district, perfect for going out at night for dinner or a drink. It has a multitude of bars, clubs, karaoke venues, and shows that are attended by both locals and tourists to have fun at night in the city.
The Susukino area is the number one entertainment district in Hokkaido, and its streets are lined with places to enjoy culinary delights such as Sapporo ramen, Genghis Khan (grilled lamb), zangi (fried chicken), and Ramen Yokocho (street ramen) which spans one block, is a must for ramen lovers.
In this part of the country, it is very cold during most of the year, and hot dishes such as ramen, curry soup, or Genghis Khan are a must. There is an infinite variety of ramen, but the best known is miso ramen, based on this broth and with roast pork.
The best place to try any or all types of ramen is Sapporo Raumen Yokocho, just two blocks south of Susukino. It consists of a base of curry broth in a huge bowl, usually accompanied by grilled meat and vegetables.
It is an ideal place for shopping with many malls and a totally on-the-go atmosphere, in the best Japanese style. If you are one of those who love to visit shopping centers, discover gastronomy, drink, and walk through streets in constant activity, this is the perfect place.
It is located near the center of Sapporo, it is an essential place to visit on your trip. At its 531-meter summit, there is an observation deck with a panoramic view of all of Hokkaido. It attracts many people during the year, especially those who like to climb mountains and go hiking in the summer, or ski in the winter.
Its views are spectacular that leave more than one breathless and attract the attention of visitors. On the observation deck at the top of the mountain, you’ll find the popular Bell of Happiness venue along with a restaurant and planetarium.
Seeing the cityscape at night of tall buildings along with the rich nature is a sight that can only be found in Sapporo. It is advisable to go up an hour before sunset to enjoy the views day and night. Also, bring a good coat as the wind blows very strongly at the top.
Shiroi Koibito Park
It offers a fun tour, especially for children, where you learn about chocolate and can see the factory first hand. Shiroi Koibito Park is a theme park in Ishiya, its flagship product is the Shiroi Koibito cookie, which consists of two thin shortbread cookies and a layer of white chocolate in between.
The park consists of a free area with a shop, cafeteria, and restaurant and a paid area with various exhibitions related to chocolate and, most interestingly, some windows through which visitors can observe the process of producing cookies in the factory. . Another part of Shiroi Koibito Park is a soccer field that serves as a practice field for Consadole Sapporo, the local professional soccer team.
To get there, you must take the Tozai Subway Line to its western terminus, Miyanosawa Station, from where the park can be reached in ten minutes on foot.
The Sapporo TV Tower
It is located at the eastern end of Odori Park, it is a tourist attraction with a height of 147.2 meters. It features an observatory that you can climb to for panoramic views of Sapporo and the mountains in the distance.
It is 147.2 meters high, its observation deck offers guests unobstructed 360-degree views to enjoy the beauty of the city. It’s a 60-second elevator ride from the third floor to the observation deck 90.38 meters above the ground, offering a spectacular panoramic view of Sapporo. Set against a backdrop of the magnificent Ishikari countryside, the distant Sea of Japan, and Odori Park, it’s a must-see experience.
Red Brick Office
The red brick building was built in 1888, it has become an important base for Hokkaido which started in the second half of the 19th century.
Currently, it is designated as the country’s important cultural property, made of American Neo-Baroque style red brick, its height to the top of the tower is 33 meters. Inside are precious historical materials from the Hokkaido settlement.
The attractive point of this building is the beautiful atmosphere that surrounds it, not to mention the power of the historical materials on display. With over 1,000 trees planted in the front yard creating beautiful landscaping in the transition of spring, summer, fall, and winter.
Beers in Sapporo are fundamental and an important element of its culture. Since 1877, the Sapporo breweries have been producing spectacular beer. In 1987, almost a century later, the Sapporo Beer Museum opened its doors. With it, the iconic Sapporo Beer brand wanted to show visitors how it prepared its products and promote craftsmanship.
During the visit, you will be able to taste the original recipe for Fukkoku Sapporo Bakushu, which is still brewed according to the tradition created in 1881. Also, you can see the posters and advertisements of Sapporo beer throughout the years; they are a great opportunity to learn about the most characteristic fashions and designs of Japan in the different decades.
Right next door is the Sapporo Beer Garden, an Oktoberfest-worthy brewery where you can sample great beer, great food, and perfect moments. You can choose any of the specialties on the menu: spider crab, sushi, a grilled lamb dish called jingisukan, among many other options.
After tasting a beer, it is practically obligatory to eat a “Genghis Khan” (jinjisukan). This lamb dish contains seasonal greens and cabbage, each cooked on a greased conical griddle in the middle of the table. When the meat is ready, it is dipped in a sauce or in salt and pepper. All of this always goes down better accompanied by a good pitcher of beer.
It is a historic market that sells fresh seafood and has been transformed into a tourist spot to discover the local culture. In addition to more than 30 specialty shops, the market is home to some of the best restaurants and has gained fame as a gourmet market in Sapporo.
This fish market is not very big, but in almost all the stalls you can have breakfast or eat a good plate of sashimi. The market has more than a hundred years of history that began with the first merchants who established their fish shops in these streets in 1903.
Next to Nijo Market is the “new Nijo Market” where you can buy vegetables, sweets, and souvenirs.
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Perhaps it seems too early to think about the snow already while some plan how to escape the cold, skiers and snowboarders look forward to the new season. If you were thinking of escaping from winter, perhaps this year you will find a reason to enjoy it: its festivals. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, you can find other great sources of fun such as snow and ice sculptures, dog sleds, concerts, or frozen mazes.
In Mayrhofen, Austria, 1-6 April 2013 An event “mythical, musical and without equal.” To attend this event you have to book the full package. You have to complete the reservation of your stay through Snowbombing and thus all events (music, contests, etc.) are included at no cost! Go ahead and look for special offers like “local passes,” or “Snowbombing Road Trip.”
Billabong Air & Style
Austria Jan 31 – Feb 2, 2013, Air & Style, sponsored by Billabong, started as an alternative contest in Innsbruck. With the participation of some of the best snowboarders in the world, it became one of the most influential current events in the sector. This year 24 incredible athletes will compete for a prize of $ 100,000.
Alaska Ice Festival
In Fairbanks, Alaska Feb 26 – Mar 24, 2013, More than 70 teams from around the world attend this month-long event to compete in the BP World Ice Art “ice art” championships. More than 100 artists and 50,000 visitors come to Alaska for this competition.
International Snow Sculpture Championships
Breckenridge, Colorado Jan 13 – Feb 2, 2013, Make sure to stay warm for this event – Breckenridge is one of the snowiest places in the United States, the perfect place for this championship! ! Breckenridge offers free public transportation during this celebration, so getting around is easy and comfortable. If you are there while the pieces are sculpted – until January 26 – you can participate in the vote for the best sculpture. Don’t miss the spectacular Ice Village.
International Snow, Ice, and Fire Festival
In Perm, Russia Feb 2013 This huge festival of snow, ice, and fire is a favorite of Russian tourism for the last 20 years. Artists from France, Mexico, Switzerland, Germany, and the US participate in this competition, contributing to good international relations between these countries.
International Snow and Ice Sculpture Festival
In Harbin, China Jan 5 – Feb end, 2013. Harbin’s ice cream art is incredible, and not just because of its size. For some it is the best winter festival, despite having to experience it at -30ºC! It is advisable to book a package that combines a festival tour with visits to saunas and bathhouses. If you are brave – fearless – you can try winter swimming, as the locals do, do you dare?
Japan Feb 5-11, 2013 About 2 million people come to Sapporo, the largest city in Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan for this festival. For 7 days, hundreds of beautiful statues of snow and ice fill Odori Park and the main street of the Susukino neighborhood.
Quebec Winter Carnival
Canada Feb 1-17, 2013 This Winter Carnival fills the atmosphere of the heart of old Quebec City with festive cheer. The pass that gives you access to 17 days of celebrations and more than 300 activities and shows costs only C $ 12, it is called “The Bonhomme Effigy”. The most popular events are the sleigh races, the Dégelée festival, and the Snow Rafting Herrera.
In Ischgl, Austria Nov 2012 You cannot miss Ischgl if you are in Austria this summer, the opening day is a perfect occasion to go to the mountains. The season begins with energetic skiers and snowboarders wanting to enjoy music, parties, and of course, the slopes!
Valais, in Switzerland Jan 12-19, 2013 The origin of this festival dates back to an ancient witchcraft tale, that is why hundreds of skiers join the party disguised as witches and witches and thus see the race of Witches’ Descent. Even with disguises, the level of difficulty of this race is very, very serious. It is a descent of 1,800 meters in 12 kilometers on difficult terrain. Later, after the last 2 days, the well-known Bruges Nights are celebrated, and they are one of the largest après ski parties in Europe.
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Snow festival is usually held in February, where snow sculptures are made. The snow festival usually takes place over a few days to one week. The snow festival is held each year at Sapporo in Hokkaidō, Japan. It has been arranged since 1950 and draws many visitors during the February school holiday period. More than 2 million people visit the Sapporo Snow Festival every year.
Why is the snow festival celebrated?
The Sapporo Snow Festival is celebrated, which began in 1950. Every year, giant snow statues are built featuring various designs and themes. The festival has many attractions for both adults and children to enjoy during the February school holiday period.
Snow sculptures are very popular at this festival, sometimes depicting well-known characters from novels or TV shows. Visitors can climb to the top of many sculptures or enter them and see how they were made, although in some cases, access is restricted for safety reasons.
Every year, about 2 million visitors come to Hokkaidō for this festival. Other large snow festivals in Japan include the Snow Miku Festival in Sapporo in February and March and the Snow Festival in Echigo-Tsumari in February.
Activities at the festival
Visitors to the snow festival can enjoy a range of activities, including Ice sliding down a 370-meter long hill Ice fishing Ice bar Ice hockey Ice swimming Ice cycling Ice Sculpture competition, Snow castle making Concerts, and performances Eating local food and drinks Shopping.
The ice sliding down a 370-meter long hill is one of the main attractions at the festival, which will be full of children over the course of the week. Visitors can also enjoy sports such as ice hockey, ice cycling, and other winter activities. The snow sculpture competition sees teams from schools, businesses, and communities across Hokkaidō competing to build the most impressive sculptures.
When it comes to eating, visitors can enjoy a wide selection of local Hokkaido food and drinks, including ramen soup with pork & leek dumplings, grilled sweet potatoes cream stew pancake with chestnuts, hot cocoa is drawn butter tea, ginger tea, Baumkuchen soft serve ice cream.
There are many shops for visitors to buy unique souvenirs, including handmade crafts, Hokkaido specialties, jewelry and accessories, handicrafts food items, traditional crafts, local products, local sake & beer other drinks.
The origins of the festival
The Sapporo Snow Festival began in 1950 after heavy snowfall in February on the banks of the Toyohira River. The event was originally held to pray for a bountiful harvest. Still, after being postponed several times due to poor weather, it eventually became an annual event which is now Hokkaidō’s largest snow festival.
The first two festivals were held in spaces near the Sapporo TV Tower and Odori Park, but in 1953 the event moved to Susukino, an area just west of Sapporo Station. After being postponed again because of heavy snowfall in 1956, the event was moved permanently to its current location on the banks of the Ishikari River.
The festival cost
The entrance to the snow festival is free, but some attractions such as ice sliding and climbing snow sculptures can cost around 500 yen per ride. There are also many shops where visitors can buy food and drinks, including grilled sweet potatoes, Hokkaido specialties, handmade crafts, jewelry & accessories, handicrafts, local products traditional crafts.
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Sapporo snow festival
The Sapporo Snow Festival is held in early February in the capital of Hokkaido prefecture, Sapporo, and is one of the most popular winter festivals in Japan.
The three main locations of the festival are the Odori Park, the Susukino area, and the Tsu-dome area, and in addition to the snow and ice sculptures, it includes attractions such as snow slides, bars built with ice blocks, and various competitions.
The origin of this festival took place in 1950 when some high school students from that city made six sculptures of between 3 and 5 meters using the snow that accumulated in block number seven of Odori Park, located in the heart of Sapporo, a place that was used as a snow dump during the winter season.
At that time there was the post-war period: hardships continued and food and other basic items for daily life were scarce. It is said that these students, who did not have even the most elementary knowledge to create a snow sculpture, took the utensils with them to the place and made statues; learning by trial and error, under the direction of an art teacher.
Five years later, Self-Defense Forces soldiers from a nearby base joined the students and built a pile of snow sculptures. From there, the event became a tradition and gained popularity, becoming what it is today: one of the winter festivals with the most national and international recognition that is known for the spectacularity of its snow and ice sculptures. , some of which can reach 15 meters in height.
Currently, the festival usually brings together 400 snow and ice sculptures. The vast majority are located in Odori Park, a hundred in Susukino and a few more in Tsudome. Since 1974, the festival organizes the International Snow and Ice Sculpture Contest that has the participation of several foreign countries.
Located in the heart of Sapporo, Odori Park is the main location for the Snow Festival. They’re the most spectacular ice sculptures are built, which are around 15 meters high and 25 meters wide. Some of these sculptures are so huge that they serve as the stage for concerts and various events during the festival.
Usually, about 12 large snow sculptures and a hundred medium and small snow sculptures are built. All of them are illuminated with intense games of lights (which play with the design of the sculpture itself) until 10 pm. In the area of medium and small sculptures, you can find snowmen and ice figures of well-known characters in Japan, such as Hello Kity, Funasshi, or even others related to new shinkansen models, curling competitions, or other winter sports, etc. The Odori Park area also has an area dedicated to sponsors and another area with typical Hokkaido food stalls and local specialties, as well as a ski jumping area, an ice skating rink, and a children’s play area.
The Susukino neighborhood is full of restaurants, bars, clubs, and karaoke bars, making it the best partying and lively neighborhood in Sapporo. On Susukino’s main street, Ekimae-Dori, between Minami 4 and Minami 6 streets, the Susukino Ice Festival is held, in which about a hundred carved ice sculptures are exhibited in great detail. You can also find the Ice Bar or ice bar, which is a bar armed with brick walls made of ice.
Another activity that usually takes place every year in this place is the female beauty contest “Susukino Queen of Ice”.
Although it is further from the city center, the Tsu-dome area is especially dedicated to families with children, as its main attraction is the snow slides and specific areas for snow rafting. In addition, inside the dome, there are food stalls, games for children, and a stage with a multitude of family leisure activities.
The Sapporo Snow Festival is considered one of the biggest events in Japan during winter. In 2007, during the 58th festival, about two million people attended the festival. That year 307 statues were made in Odori Park, 32 in Scotland, and 100 in Susukino. It should be noted that every year the Self-Defense Forces participate in creating snow sculptures.
The people of Sapporo took the snow that was considered a hindrance to use it as the material of their sculptures, transforming it with passion and ingenuity, and laying the foundations of what would be the Snow Festival. As a legacy of that pioneering spirit, this winter festival, which unveils the city of Sapporo around the world, will continue to evolve.
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The organization has had serious problems making the 200 figures in the sample. For the first time in 70 years, they have turned to cities like Niseko, some 60 kilometers away, to find clean ‘raw material.’
Tens of thousands of tourists come each year to Sapporo, in northern Japan, to see the 200 ice sculptures presented during the Snow Festival. However, the latter was conspicuous by its absence in this year’s edition.
Due to the too mild temperatures this year, the rainfall was not enough and the organizers had to figure out how to build the sculptures despite the enormous shortage of raw materials. The lack of snow is unheard of. We had to bring it from places we had never had to go to before, such as Niseko, a city located about 60 kilometers from Sapporo.
On average, 30,000 tonnes of pristine snow are needed to make the sculptures, representing everything from cartoon characters to famous racehorses. The snow must be clean, pure, without any kind of dirt because the sculptures can break. This year’s exceptionally light snowfall forced several ski resorts in Japan to close their slopes.
What happens in the Sapporo snow festival
The capital of the island of Hokkaido, the amount that fell this year represents less than half the annual average, according to the local observatory of the Japanese National Meteorological Agency. High temperatures caused snow to melt in mid-December, while mercury should remain above average.
This lack of rainfall was a major challenge for the 125 soldiers of the local self-defense forces who build these sculptures each year, some up to 15 meters high.
Not only did we not have enough, but the snow was also full of water, causing the statues to melt quickly. His troops spent about 100 days designing and building a 15×20-meter statue in Warsaw’s Lazienki Palace to mark the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Poland in 2019. “We had to constantly repair the replica of the building. It was difficult to fix the pieces because it was too hot.
For 70 years
The Sapporo Festival has been celebrated for 70 years and is a major tourist attraction in northern Japan. Last year 2.7 million people visited it.
Northern Japanese cities organize snow festivals every year. It would be a shame if these events ended because of too hot weather.
In general, we tend to have more snow. I think this is kind of weird. I have the impression that climate change is materializing.
The main theme of this year’s exhibition, which ends on Tuesday, is the Ainu ethnic minority of Hokkaido, to commemorate the future opening, in April, of the first national museum dedicated to that community, nicknamed Upopoy.
We have never had statues with such powerful Ainu characteristics,” such as a giant ‘but a deity from that culture. Some even asked those same gods for more snowfall.
In mid-January, a ski resort in Hyogo prefecture (southwest) asked a Shinto priest to conduct a ceremony calling for it to snow. So did the organizers of the Yamagata snow festival in northern Japan? It’s not that we don’t have enough snow. It is that we do not have at all. It’s serious. It’s a disaster.
Still, the organizers of the Sapporo festival hope to continue the famous event for future generations. All we can do is pray.
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At the beginning of February each year, the Sapporo Yuki Matsuri, known as the Sapporo Snow Festival, occurs. Although other snow festivals take place in Japan, the one in the island’s capital of Hokkaido is the largest.
Why people observe Sapporo Snow Festival
It was encouraging the people of Sapporo, in the postwar period, a time when food was scarce and when the war had left behind previous winter celebrations. There were dog races, dances, and a theater contest in its first version, thus receiving more than 50,000 spectators. Due to its success in its second edition, it became an official celebration. Since the sixth edition of the festival in 1955, the Japanese armed forces have been actively involved in making large-scale snow sculptures.
Five years later, soldiers from the Self-Defense Forces from a nearby base joined the students and built a lot of snow sculptures and from there, the event became a tradition and gained popularity, becoming what it is today. Day one of the winter festivals with more national and international recognition, known for the spectacularity of its snow and ice sculptures, some of which can reach 15 meters in height. Since 1974 the international Snow Sculpture competition has been held where members from different countries of the world such as the United States, South Korea, and France participate. In 2013, the world’s first snow video mapping was presented with such success that it is still used in the new versions of the festival.
The Sapporo Snow Festival (Sapporo Yuki-matsuri) is held annually in February, lasting one week (February 5-11). It stands out for its spectacular ice sculptures that can reach dimensions such as 25 meters wide and 15 meters high. Also having several musical presentations, gastronomic fairs and other types of events. Tourists describe the experience as something fantastic and festive. In 2014, 2,400,000 visitors attended.
Odori Park is the most popular of the three scenarios because the largest number of sculptures are exhibited there, and the International Ice Sculpture Contest is held at this venue. In Susukini, there is a beauty contest called “Susuki Queen of Ice,” where you can see especially the ice carving and great night activity. And finally, in Sapporo Satoland you can see sports competitions.
History and origin
Previously, snow festivals were held, but they were all canceled because of the Second World War. That is why the festival that we know today is relatively recent and began to be held in 1950 when both students and later the self-defense forces began to build snow sculptures. Since then, this festival has not stopped becoming popular and growing, attracting more and more visitors each year. Currently, more than two million people visit the festival each year.
Today, not only can you see snow sculptures up to 15 meters high, but there is also a sculpture contest in which different countries participate.
The festival takes place in three locations in the city – Odori Park, the Susukino area, and Tsu Dome.
- Odori Park – this park is where the main focus of the festival is located. In this park, we can see approximately 1.5 km the largest and most spectacular snow sculptures in this park. Some of them have projections above the same figures recreating scenes from movies or video games. Like any festival, in Odori Park, we can also find many food stops.
- Susukino – On the main street in Sapporo’s liveliest neighborhood, you can find several sculptures made of ice that can also be seen illuminated at night.
- Tsu Dome – it is the area furthest from the city center, but that is precisely what makes it ideal for having snow slides where you can slide. It is very common to meet families with children so that the little ones can also have fun. This area usually opens about 5 days before the rest of the festival.
Additional information and access to Sapporo
The next Yuki Matsuri will be held from February 4 to 11, 2022. From Tokyo, you can go to Sapporo in a short time by internal flights, but for those who are more daring and do not mind the travel time, you can also get there by shinkansen to Hakodate and then to Sapporo in a total of about 8 hours of travel.
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One of the most anticipated events of the year in Sweden is approaching, the Kiruna Snow Festival 2021. A magical moment dedicated to creations made with snow, between sculptures and fun moments. So let’s find out all the details about the event.
Kiruna Snow Festival 2021
Sweden, a land of cold temperatures and magical snowy landscapes, celebrates a festival dedicated to snow and ice each year. A moment of fun and entertainment, dedicated to young and old, organized in a fairytale location.
Games, activities, nature, and ice sculptures make the location enchanted, giving visitors an unforgettable moment. It is an ideal place to admire the magic of the Northern Lights that illuminate the sky during the winter nights.
The event celebrates the slow return to the light in the city of Kiruna with snow games, ski races, snowboard stunts, ice sculpture competitions, and dog sled tours.
A moment of lightheartedness and joy set all the participants in motion, who forget the cold running here and there among the various attractions.
A festival that has now become a tradition. In fact, this winter festival has been held during the last weekend of January in the Kiruna city center since 1986.
Dates and events
Among the most anticipated events, we find the Kiruna International Snow Sculpture Competition. It is a world-class competition that attracts the best artists from all over the world. The competition has had an international status as a snow sculpture competition since 1991. Every year, artists from all over the world visit the festival to participate in the competition.
The Kiruna Snow Festival is also the home of the Snow Blower World Championships. A serious winter sport or just some kind of city competition – in any case, it’s a delightful pastime for both competitors and spectators.
This year, the Kiruna Snow Festival 2021 runs from January 18 to 23. Always, it will be packed with activities for all ages. During the Snow Festival, you will be able to participate in the rich culture that Kiruna has to offer, from snow sculptures to painting exhibitions to children’s playgrounds drawn by snow. The festive atmosphere is felt throughout the city.
However, this thirty-sixth edition will certainly be affected by the health emergency, making changes to the classic editions. In fact, it will be a safe event, between social distancing and masks, to guarantee maximum safety for everyone, in compliance with the anti-contagion regulations in force.
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Winter for me is not wintered if it is not very cold. I have chosen to visit one of the coldest places in Japan, Hokkaido. Because in this island north of Japan, which is located on the same latitude as Vladivostock and Siberia, winter, cold, snow and ice have been celebrated for 69 years with the Sapporo Snow Festival, an international festival where the protagonist is the snow. Which always falls very abundantly in this region. Which is pressed, compacted into huge blocks that recall marble in size and color, and then sculpted to reproduce statues, paintings, installations, even buildings.
Sapporo Snow Festival
I had heard about Sapporo Snow Festival several times over the years – generally, some Sapporo celebrating image is always shared on the news. It was a strong desire of mine, which I had cultivated for a long time, to be able to see the Sapporo Snow Festival.
Finally, I did it! Thanks to a fourth trip to Japan, I decided to plan the visit itinerary to enter Hokkaido with a visit to Sapporo’s city on the opening day of the event. I make an aside: reaching Hokkaido is no longer as complicated as it used to be: some planes connect Tokyo and other major Japanese cities with the New Chitose airport, a few tens of kilometers from Sapporo and even by train, it is no longer unthinkable as it once was: once it took a long time to reach Hokkaido from Tokyo, it was an epic journey because in addition to the train you had to take a ferry that from Aomori Prefecture ( Honshu Island ) took you to Hakodate ( Hokkaido Island)) From there, take the train back to Sapporo: at least 12 hours of travel, exhausting!
Fortunately, in 1988 the Seikan submarine railway tunnel was opened. A railway path of 53.85 is the longest submarine railway tunnel in the world. The extension of the Shinkansen super-fast train to Sapporo is planned (today). So, getting to Hokkaido today is easy and the only thing that can happen to you, especially in winter and with snowstorms, is that your train arrives a little late at its destination due to level crossings. and frozen exchanges. Hokkaido is Japan, yes, but Japan is necessarily a special Japan (climate, distance, history)!
The Sapporo Snow Festival occurs in Odori Park
A wide green strip in the heart of the city, with trees, gardens, fountains, and art installations, breaks the continuous line of buildings skyscrapers for about 1 kilometer and a half (12 blocks ). On the one hand, it ends with the high television antenna (during the Sapporo Snow Festival, decorated with millions of colored light bulbs). On the other hand with the Shiryokan, the old Sapporo Court of Appeal building dating back to 1926, now a national monument.
The Odori Park
It is also the litmus test of the different seasons: in spring, it is all a blossom of cherry trees and in autumn, the thousand orange colors of the leaves are a palette for painters. The Odori Park can be reached by one of the three Sapporo subways (no matter if the orange, blue or green line, the Odori station is one of the interchange points between the three city subways and if you start from the JR train station, the distance is one-stop, with a cost of 200 Yen).
The Sapporo Snow Festival (Japanese name: Sapporo Yuki Matsuri, where there is the word Matsuri there is always a party!) It takes place in Sapporo every year from February 5th to 12th, is free to enter, and is a mix of successful art exhibitions, amusement parks,s and fairs of local gastronomic products.
It is also a perfect showcase for promoting consumer goods and advertising. So, don’t be surprised if occasionally there will be awnings where gifts are distributed (of course, the Japanese line up neatly and wait their turn, no one elbowed. or you dream of climbing over the line!). In general, it is a moment of joyful happiness for adults, children, and grandparents.
When you visit the Sapporo Snow Festival, in addition to dressing as if you were going to ski slopes or otherwise very well covered, pay close attention to the ground: in some places, it is completely frozen – and the sidewalks are not always clear of snow – so you should wear suitable shoes, or buy crampons to remove and put to apply to the shoes (they are also found at Decathlon and cost a few dollars) or, my advice, bring trekking poles that if used well in some situations they help to be safer.
Winter is a fascinating season for many reasons: the holidays, the weather, the holidays, and gifts. For this reason, around the world, countless parties and festivals of all kinds are celebrated, ranging from concerts to carnivals, passing through urban events and sports competitions. Here we tell you five winter festivals that you have to know. On this map, we mark the location of the winter festivals in this article.
Best Winter Festivals Around the World
Ice sculpture festival
Harbin, in northeast China, is famous for its freezing winters, ranging from -13º to -25º. Here, from January to February of each year, the Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival takes place.
Its main attraction is its monumental ice and snow sculptures illuminated by colored lights. They are exhibited in four thematic areas: Sun Island International Snow Sculpture Art Expo, Harbin Ice and Snow World, Harbin Wanda Ice Lantern World, and Zhaolin Park Ice Lantern Fair.
They can be up to 40 meters tall and come in endless forms, from Chinese fishermen to lanterns to Buddhas. Most of the sculptures are made with gigantic blocks of ice obtained from the Songhua River, which becomes a huge playground during this season.
The festival offers many other attractions, such as snow sports, competitions, screenings, art exhibits, light shows and much more. Enter here to learn more about the Ice Sculpture Festival Harbin, one of the world’s most beautiful winter festivals.
Sapporo Snow Festival
The Sapporo Snow Festival, or Sapporo Snow Festival, is one of Japan’s largest winter festivals, attracting around 2 million visitors annually. It takes place in Sapporo, on the island of Hokkaido, between January and February.
The event takes place in three different areas of the city: Odori, Tsudome, and Susukino. In Odori and Tsudome, you can admire the works of the famous snow and ice sculpture festival. Some of the pieces measure up to 15 meters high by 25 meters long and are illuminated at night.
Tsudome Site, on the other hand, is located on the outskirts of the city. It focuses on the fun in the snow. There you will find several attractions such as slides, an area for snow rafting, a zip line, children’s sleds, and much more. More information about the event in this link
Winter lights festival
In early February, Reykjavik, Iceland, fills with color with the celebration of the Winter Lights Festival, or Winter Festival of Lights, which celebrates both the frozen world and the arrival of light after a long period of darkness.
The festival program is a mix of events from different disciplines, such as art, industry, environment, sports, and culture, and take advantage of the great attractions of the Nordic city.
For example, one of its most popular events is the Night of Museums. Around 40 museums of the city open their doors to entertain their visitors with various events, such as dance performances, live music, literary sessions, and much more.
Another very traditional event is Pool Night, where you can enjoy several of the largest thermal pools in Reykjavik at night, totally free! Besides swimming, there is music, lights, and various activities.
In this winter event, there are also other events such as light shows, parties, cultural activities, photographic exhibitions, and poetry readings. Enter here to know more.
Mountain Trout Ice Festival
Every January, more than a million people flock to the small town of Hwacheon, South Korea, to take part in the Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival – the mountain trout ice festival.
As its name suggests, the festival revolves mostly around ice fishing. Upon arrival, you will be given a fishing pole, a plastic bag, and an entry pass. Then you will have to find one of the 14,000 holes and sit and wait for your trout to take the hook.
Besides fishing, many other activities make it one of the best winter festivals in the world. There is, for example, a fishing competition in which you will have to catch a fish with nothing but your hands; ice sculptures, ice skating, traditional games, sleigh rides, and delicious gastronomy. More info here.
In late January and early February, the Quebec Winter Festival is one of the biggest winter festivals of all. It attracts thousands of visitors and offers all kinds of activities for the whole family.
The activities’ schedule is extensive, with several thousand events, but especially the evening parades, the Bonhomme Ice Palace, canoe races on the St. Lawrence River, culinary tastings, and snow baths.