One of Sapporo’s most iconic winter events is the annual Sapporo Snow Festival, which takes place in early February.
The lively festival lasts over a week and has venues across Odori Park, Susukino and Tsudome. The jovial atmosphere and contagious excitement of festival goers pairs perfectly with the crisp winter air, making the festival a yearly tradition for millions of residents and global visitors.
Ice sculptors from around the world attend the festival to craft and display spectacular ice and snow sculptures, and the most talented teams compete in the festival’s International Snow Sculpture Contest.
The festival’s activities, attractions, food and drinks ensure that people of all ages have a wonderful time day or night!
The festival’s main and largest site is Odori Park, which starts at the Sapporo TV Tower and stretches across the park. From the top of the tower, the glittering festival lights and white snow create a magical wintertime scene. Odori Park is home to the majority of the festival’s snow and ice sculptures and features art created by international teams as well as Sapporo citizens. Some sculptures measure up to 25 meters wide and 15 meters high! At night, the city illuminates the sculptures with a dazzling display of lights.
One of the park’s most popular spots is its ice rink. At night, the city illuminates the rink, trees and Sapporo TV Tower, creating a charming and romantic spot. The park’s collection of food stalls sell a range of Hokkaido winter dishes, including ramen, seafood, zangi (fried chicken) and Jingisukan (Mongolian barbecue), as well as international dishes. Odori Park also hosts numerous live stage events.
The nightlife district of Susukino exhibits a variety of detailed ice sculptures and features an Ice Bar where festival goers can grab a warm drink. This area is also the site of the Ice Sculpture Contest.
The Tsudome site is home to a variety of family-friendly experiences geared towards children. Adults can certainly have fun too though! The area’s collection of outdoor activities includes tube slides, tunnel slides, ice slides, sledding hills, ice glass making, snow golfing and more. The area also features multiple winter photo opportunities and has an indoor kids park for families looking to take a break from the winter air.