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Sapporo Snow Festival
Category:Cultural Festival, Traditional Festival
The internationally popular Sapporo Snow Festival will be held in February.
The Sapporo Snow Festival (さっぽろ雪まつり, Sapporo Yuki-matsuri) is a festival held annually in Sapporo, Japan, over seven days in February. Odori Park, Susukino, and Tsudome are the main sites of the festival.
In 2007 (57th festival), about two million people visited Sapporo to see the hundreds of snow statues and ice sculptures at the Odori Park and Susukino sites, in central Sapporo, and at the Satoland site. An International Snow Sculpture Contest has been held at the Odori Park site since 1974, and 14 teams from various regions of the world participated in 2008.
The subject of the statues varies and often features an event, famous building or person from the previous year. For example, in 2004, there were statues of Hideki Matsui, the famous baseball player who at that time played for the New York Yankees. A number of stages made out of snow are also constructed and some events including musical performances are held. At the Satoland site, visitors can enjoy the long snow and ice slides as well as a huge maze made of snow. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of regional foods from all over Hokkaidō at the Odori Park and Satoland sites, such as fresh seafood, potatoes, corn, and fresh dairy products.
Every year the number of statues displayed is around 400 in total. In 2007, there were 307 statues created at the Odori Park site, 32 at the Satoland site and 100 at the Susukino site. A good view of the creations can be had from the TV Tower at the Odori Park site.
The internationally popular Sapporo Snow Festival will be held in February but with fewer and smaller ice sculptures, no sales vendors and zero stage events, the executive committee said.
The committee also said the festival could be canceled depending on the COVID-19 situation in Japan’s northernmost main island.
Odori Park will serve as the main venue for the 2022 festival for the first time in two years.
This year’s edition took place online because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. It was excluded from the official count for the snow festivals.
Held annually since 1950, Hokkaido’s winter tradition has featured about 200 ice and snow sculptures and statues at Odori Park and two other venues. The festival has attracted more than 2 million visitors from home and abroad in recent years.
However, the 72nd edition, scheduled for Feb. 5-12, will show only seven or eight mid-sized sculptures up to 10 meters tall at the park to coincide with a light show and online events.
There will be no snow sculptures built by amateur sculptors, and the international contest for teams from outside Japan has been called off, the committee said.
Sales of food, drinks and goods will be unavailable at the venue to prevent the spread of the virus.
Some areas of the Sapporo White Illumination event, which will end on Dec. 25, will be lit up during the snow festival.
The executive committee comprises officials from the city government, the Sapporo Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other organizations.
LocationHokkaido Japan Sapporo Odori Park
Festival TypeSnow Winter
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