Wednesday, January 12, 2011
The Sapporo Snow Festival, one of Japan’s largest winter events, attracts a growing number of visitors from Japan and abroad every year. Every winter, about two million people come to Sapporo to see the hundreds of beautiful snow statues and ice sculptures which line Odori Park,the grounds at Satoland, and the main street in Susukino. For seven days in February 5-11, 2010 ,these statues and sculptures(both large and small) turn Sapporo into a winter dreamland of crystal-like ice and white snow.
During the festival literally hundreds of snow and ice sculptures are created in three areas of Sapporo:
Odori Koen - Sapporo’s central park & playground which hosts the artistic snow sculptures (including the vast sculptures made with the assistance of the military), the festival launch, and much of the live music and other entertainment. This section is open all day and illuminated each night.
Satorando/Satoland - a relatively new site that made it’s debut at the 2006 festival replacing the Makomanai JGSDF base. As with the base, it is the only site not located in the center of the city. Satorando/Satoland is just as kinderfreundlich as Makomanai ever was, and even better for adults with hot air balloons, snow mazes and an ice bar.
Susukino - the nightlife area which hosts the ice festival, where sculptures are carved using chainsaws and other power tools on the first day of the festival. Open day and night but best viewed after dark.
The Snow Festival began in 1950, when local high school students built six snow statues in Odori Park. in 1955, the Self-Defense Force joined in and built the very first massive snow sculpture, for which the Snow Festival has become famous for now. The Festival has grown from these humble beginnings to become one of the biggest and most well known of Hokkaido’s winter events. The Snow Festival is considered to be a festival of international-caliber.