Travel Tips: Sapporo Snow Festival

Today’s Location Duration Recommendation travel tips comes from a local, and from an event held every year. Many thanks to Andrew for writing up about the Sapporo Snow Festival.

Sapporo Snow Festival 2015 Darth Vader

Sapporo Snow Festival 2015

The Snow Festival runs for one week only in February every year. I lived in Sapporo for 2.5 years, so I saw it a few times…

Too many! The festival includes live music and dance performances, a giant man made ski jump for jump competitions, loads of fresh seafood and international food. At night they have a light up show where they project animations over the big sculptures.

At night, catch a train or walk over to the drinking district in nearby Susukino to see the ice sculptures. Make sure to enjoy a world famous Japanese whisky which was distilled only a few hours away at the famous Yoichi Whisky Distillery.

If you have time on another day, catch a subway over Sakaemachi Station, and go to the snow festival next to the Tsudome Sport Stadium. There’s a giant 50m ice slide you ride down on an inflatable donut, and a ride where you get dragged along on an inflatable raft by a snow mobile. Lots of rides and games for kids too.

Foodwise: Sapporo is known for it’s Soup Curry – great food in winter. Also, the sushi in Sapporo (and nearby Otaru) is the best Japan has to offer (just avoid the super cheap 100 yen per plate places).

A bit more info
The sculptures at the Snow Festival are amazing because they are built by the only people in Japan with the tools, time and expertise to build such massive things – the Japanese Self-Defence Force! I will note that over the 3 winters I experienced in Sapporo (2013-2015) the weather was getting progressively warmer. As a result the 2015 festival sculptures started melting early – sadly parts of the Star Wars sculpture you see in the image above were destroyed before the festival was even over. My friends tell me the winter of 2016 was even warmer than last… So if you want to check it out, better go now before it’s too late!

Japanese Police Dressing up as Storm Troopers and Darth VaderLocal cops encouraging safe driving. Seriously! The yellow banner says “Let’s obey the road rules!”

Ski slope Sapporo Snow FestivalThe giant ice slide at Tsudome Stadium.

Sapporo Snow Festival Japanese Rap Artist Dressed UpLocal rap artist performing on a stage made of ice.

Categories: Backpacks, Location Duration Recommendation, Our Gear, Travel

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