One of Japan's most awaited events, the Sapporo Snow Festival draws over 2 million attendees annually. Originating in 1950 with just a few snow statues by students, it has transformed into a week-long global attraction in Hokkaido's capital, Sapporo. Delve into the richness of Japanese seasons and engage with the community while basking in the snowy spectacle.
For 2024, the festival spans eight days across three primary venues: Odori, Susukino, and Tsudome.
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What is the Sapporo Snow Festival?
Celebrated every winter in Sapporo, this grand event attracts international attention, standing alongside Quebec Winter Carnival and Harbin's Snow Festival. From its humble beginnings at Odori Park with school students crafting statues, it has expanded immensely. 1972 saw it gain global recognition during the Sapporo Olympics. Today, it's not just about statues but encompasses ice dancing, dog sled races, and even film events.
When is the Sapporo Snow Festival 2024?
Sapporo Snow Festival 2024 will be held from 4-11 February 2024.
How to attend the Sapporo Snow Festival?
The Sapporo Snow Festival is held at three separate sites. Each site features different kinds of events and exhibits, giving you totally different experiences with beautiful snow:
1. Odori Site (Main Site)
As the biggest site, nowadays you’ll find hundreds of sculptures here, some measuring more than 25 meters wide and 15 meters tall. Depending on the year you can also enjoy other winter activities such as ice skating, ski and snowboarding jumps, projection mapping, and various different delicious Hokkaido foods.
How to get there: A brief walk from JR Sapporo Station leads you directly to Odori Park.
2. Tsudome Site
The second largest site, Tsudome Site, is the family-friendly, but less centrally located site of the Snow Festival. It features several large snow slides and outdoor snow tubing areas where visitors can enjoy a snow-ice experience as well as snow sculptures. Inside the snowdome, there are many other attractions that you can enjoy, as well as some more delicious food stalls.
How to get to there: Use the Toho Line from JR Sapporo Station, alighting at Sakae Station.
3. Susukino Site
The third site of the Sapporo Snow Festival is the Susukino Site, located close to Odori Park. Susukino is a popular drinking area in Sapporo, and you can enjoy drinks at the ice bar at this site! You can also ride on the ice sculptures and take stunning pictures on Illumination Street. The ice sculptures are lit up daily until 11pm. This year they will have an amazing ice sculpture show and an ice sulpture contest. Although the Susukino site is the smallest of the three sites, it still features about 100 ice sculptures.
How to get there: Board the Namboku Line from JR Sapporo Station to Susukino Station.
Where to stay during the Sapporo Snow Festival?
During the snow festival, it can be difficult to find hotels and the prices are often relatively higher than usual as it’s peak season. If you decide to go to the Festival, it’s best to book your accommodation as early as possible! We prefer to stay at hotels near one of the event sites, but you can choose to stay at a ryokan for a more authentic Japanese experience.
Food in Sapporo
One of the highlights of your Hokkaido trip will surely be the mouth watering local food. Hokkaido is rich in nature and benefits from the cool weather, making it easier to harvest a wide range of vegetables, produce dairy products and catch a large amount of delicious seafood. At the Odori Park Site there are many food stalls that serve Hokkaido’s best local foods!
Sapporo ramen is a must-try food and one of the most popular local specialties in Sapporo. Hokkaido’s signature ramen is miso ramen, and an especially popular style of this is with the addition of butter and corn on top. A warm bowl of Sapporo miso ramen is extra tasty in the cold month of February during the festival!
You can also try other local Hokkaido specialties such as fresh seafood, mutton dishes and zangi fried chicken.
Sapporo offers much more than just the snow festival in winter, and it can be a perfect getaway for anyone no matter what season it is. Try to join some private tours and explore the city (and beyond) with a helpful tour guide and maybe even meet new friends!
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