Japan is one of the best countries in Asia to truly experience the shift of the seasons in. The winters are cold and crisp, the summers are pleasantly warm. The autumn’s leaves line the streets and the spring makes the glacier water in the rivers sparkle – a very scenic and aesthetically pleasing country to be in regardless of the time of year.
One of the most spectacular outdoor sights to see in Japan happens in some of the coldest months the nation has to offer and is perfect for those that enjoy the snow. Should the cold be your preferred your time of year, or if you don’t mind layering up the clothes for the sake of seeing some true craftsmanship, the Sapporo Snow Festival is the right place for you to be.
Held once every year in the first or second week of February, the festival is one of the most popular ones in Japan, especially during this time of the year. Its roots go all the way back to the 1950s when a bunch of high school students spent their free time building sculptures from snow and ice in the Odori Park. The event caught on with locals and quickly became a yearly tradition, growing and attracting artists and enthusiasts from all over the country to come and either put up their own sculptures of merely appreciate the scenery. Today, it is a rather commercialized event which attracts over 2 million visitors annually from both Japan and overseas.
There are three venues for the sculptures to be featured on: Odori Park, Susukino and at the Tsu Dome. Each site will feature different types of sculptures to see and take pictures of, with the Odori Park being the largest site and normally housing the largest structures, some of which measure over 15 meters into the air. The night time makes the visuals even more stunning as the ice sculptures are illuminated until 10pm.
One very nice way to enjoy the event at is the nearby Sapporo TV Tower. Going to the observation deck costs a small fee but allows visitors to overview all three sites and see the works of art in all their icy glory.
Image by japanguidebook.com