Japanese Snow Sculptures

Many people know that Japan has some pretty unique things to see, but have you ever heard of snow sculptures? Since the 1950’s Japanese students in Hokkaido have been competing to make the best snow sculptures. Today the event has become the famous Sapparo Snow Festival. Hokkaido is the most northern of the Japanese islands and if you visit Odori Park in Sapparo (of Hokkaido), you can see some amazing creations. A life size dinosaur or a 30-foot sculpture of New York Yankee’s outfielder Hideki Matsui, are not out of the ordinary.

“The festival took a major turn when the Self Defense Force joined. Using their engineering skills, they were able to build much larger sculptures with far more intricate details. Nowadays some sculptures are 50 feet tall and 150 feet wide. The festival got particularly famous in 1972 when it coincided with the Japanese Olympics and received international coverage. “As a result there are about one hundred smaller sculptures made from people from all around the world. Costs for a large sculpture can be up to $100,000; some countries or major corporations sponsor this.

The Sapparo Snow Festival can be enjoyed by all ages. Since the event takes place during Feburary, there are other snow activities to participate in. For kids, there are snow and ice slides to ride and all can fill up their bellies in the food stalls. Also, the ice bar and karaoke booth are fun and great alternatives to the cold. The sculptures stay lit until 8 or 9pm, so the festival is also a fun way to spend a late evening.

If you are interested in seeing the Snow Festival, start to plan the trip anywhere from 6 months to a year in advance. Doing this assures you will get a cheaper airfare and perhaps lower hotel rates. It snows a lot in Sapparo, so make sure bring lots of layers.

Source: Ryan McDonald