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Sapporo Snow Festival 2020 - An Extravaganza Of Snow And Ice

Hokkaido 2019.10.03 Bookmark

The Sapporo Snow Festival held in Sapporo, Hokkaido, is a big event held in February. Sculptures of ice and snow fill the city and are lit up at night! The festival in 2020 will be from January 31 to February 11. Read to learn more about what to do and see at this magnificent wintery event.

Translated by Kayoko Windle

Written by MATCHA

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The Sapporo Snow Festival

Sapporo Snow Festival

Photo by Sapporo City Economy and Tourism Bureau

The Sapporo Snow Festival, or Sapporo Yuki Matsuri, is an extravaganza of snow and ice held annually in Sapporo City, Hokkaido in early February. Started 70 years ago, it has become a big winter event where not only the Japanese but also people from around the world visit to enjoy snow statue displays of various sizes and shapes.

The theme of the snow statues changes every year. A wide range of topics has been inspiring the creation of these statues, from world-famous and historical buildings like Japanese castles to characters from cartoons. There has even been a giant snow statue 15 m high and 12 m wide!

Sapporo Snow Festival Schedule 2020

Odori Site and Susukino Site: February 4, 2019 to February 11, 2020
Tsudomu Site: January 31, 2019 to February 11, 2020

Sapporo Snow Festival Sites and Access from Sapporo Station

Sapporo Snow Festival

Photo by Sapporo City Economy and Tourism Bureau

There are three sites to the Sapporo Snow Festival in Sapporo City.

1. Odori Site

The site in Odori Park, stretching east to west through the Sapporo city center, shows powerful giant snow statues spread out over 15 km. You can enjoy looking at the statues all day long and they are lit up at night as well.

Location: Odori Park (Sapporo, Chuo, Odori 1-12)
Access: From JR Sapporo Station, take either the Toho or Nanboku lines to Odori Station and go out through either exit 2, 5, 6, or 8.

2. Tsudomu Site

This site is set up in the Sapporo Community Dome, under the nickname of 'Tsudome'. It is popular as a site with many attractions to enjoy such as a big snow slide. The hours here are from 9:00-17:00.

Location: Sapporo Community Dome (Sapporo, Higashi, Sakaemachi 885-1)
Access: Take the Toho line from Sapporo Station and get off at Sakaemachi. Transfer to the shuttle bus, or walk for 15 minutes to the site.

3. Susukino Site

The site in Susukino, the best restaurant district in Sapporo, mainly displays ice statues. Here you can also find "Fureai Hiroba," where you can touch or even ride on ice and elsewhere there is an ice bar where people can enjoy a drink. The exhibition is available to see all day and it is lit up at night.

Location: Sapporo, Chuo, Minami 4 - Minami 7 roads in 4-chome
Access: Take Nanboku line from Sapporo Station and get off at Susukino, go out exit 3 or 5.

Enjoying the Sapporo Snow Festival!

Sapporo Snow Festival

Photo by Sapporo City Economy and Tourism Bureau

Sapporo Snow Festival

Observing the Sapporo Snow Festival during the day time is nice, but the view at night is even more beautiful because of the illuminations. The Odori site has illuminations until 22:00, and the Susukino site has illuminations until 23:00.

If you would like to experience winter activities or play with snow, Tsudome Site is the best place to go. There are sections to make snowmen and do snow rafting as well such as the big snow slide and snow maze. Please allow plenty of time to enjoy this site as there may be a long line depending on the display and some attractions may close earlier than described.

What to Wear and Bring With You

Attire

The Sapporo Snow Festival takes place in February, the coldest month of the year in Japan. The average temperature in early February in 2016 was -2.9℃, and it gets even colder at night. Wear a coat, sweater, and a shawl or scarf around your neck to protect yourself from the cold. Outdoor outfits, such as ski wear, are recommended when you join snow activities like playing with snow. Knit hats, earmuffs, and gloves are also crucial if you will be outside for a long time.

Shoes and Boots

Since the streets are icy, if you are not wearing winter shoes with treads, you run the risk of slipping and falling. But in Hokkaido, you can find attachable treads for your shoes to help them grip better, so it may be a good idea to buy some. These are available for around 1000 yen at stores in the station or at a shoe store.

Useful Items for the Festival

If you plan to stay outside for a long time you will probably get a runny nose so tissues will be useful. Also if you are feeling cold, you can buy heat packs called Kairo at convenience stores. We also recommend warming yourself up with a nice hot drink.

Ōdōri Park

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The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.

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