The Sapporo Snow Festival begins on February 5th and runs until February 11th again this year, with snow slide and snow rafting activities continuing this year at the Tsudome Community Dome site until February 18th.
This year is the 67th Sapporo Snow Festival, which has its origins back in 1950 when local high school students made six impromptu snow and ice sculptures in the city's Odori Park. In 1955, the Japanese Self Defense Forces helped out to make the large ice sculptures seen today.
The main venues to see the ice and snow sculptures are: Odori Park, Tsudome Community Dome and Susukino - the major entertainment and commercial area of Sapporo, south of Sapporo Station. The sculptures at Odori Park are illuminated until 10pm every evening, while those in Susukino continue lit until 11pm.
Among this year's over 200 ice sculptures are ice replicas of the Hokkaido Shinkansen Rail Line due to open on 26 March 2016, plus other attractions in Hokkaido and the Tohoku region of Japan including the Kanemori Red Brick Warehouses and pentagon-shaped Goryokaku fortress in Hakodate, the Nebuta Festival in Aomori, Hirosaki Castle and the Enburi folk dance in Hachinohe.
Internationally-themed ice sculptures include the Globe Theatre in London where William's Shakespeare's plays were performed. From Taiwan there are sculptures of The Queen's Head rock in Yehliu Geopark in Wanli District in New Taipei City and the Pingxi Police Box, a modern new attraction that is lit with 1000's of LEDs. Another large ice sculpture captures the magnificent facade of the former Jesuit Cathedral of Sao Paulo in Macau. Finally don't miss the ice sculptures of popular characters from the anime series Dragon Ball Super.
As well as the amazing ice sculptures, other entertainments include an "Ice Queen" contest in Susukino, an international ice sculpture festival with around a dozen teams from such nations as USA (Hawaii & Portland), Korea (Daejeon), Australia, Thailand, Singapore, Italy, Finland, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Poland, snow slides, ice mazes and lots of great Hokkaido food and drink such as hot potatoes, seafood and Sapporo ramen.
Around 2 million visitors are expected to attend this year's event. 2.4 million attended the Sapporo Snow Festival in 2014.
Sapporo Snow Festival 2016 (Official Site in Japanese, Chinese, Korean & English)
Tel: 011 211 2376
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