Home >> Japan Travel >> Sapporo Snow Festival

Sapporo Snow Festival is the mother of all snow festivals in Hokkaido and the main reason tourists flock there in February.  It takes place from 5 – 11 February every year over 3 venues within Sapporo: Odori Park, Susukino and Sapporo Dome.  The Sapporo Snow Festival is huge, and you will probably need 2 days to thoroughly explore all the 3 sites of the festival.

Odori Park Site

The main venue is Odori Park where giant snow sculptures and many smaller ones are displayed.

If you are in Sapporo just before the festival, you can actually roam around Odori Park to watch the setting up of the festival.

Odori Park does get pretty crowded once the festival officially starts.  So this is actually a pretty good time to take your time to check out the amazing details of the snow sculptures.

While the huge snow sculptures were contributed by large organisations, individual members of the public could contribute smaller snow sculptures.

While I was roaming around watching the individuals carve them snow sculptures, one of them invited me up to his snow sculpture to pose for a photo!

The festival officially opens on 5 February.

Throughout the festival, you will still see people working on the sculptures to keep them in tip top condition.

I actually love it when there are people working on the sculptures, because it really gives you a sense of how huge they are.

The snow sculptures only formed half the fun of the festival imo.  Eating made up the other half of the fun!

There were many many food stalls around the park as well as tables and chairs set up for visitors to sit down and dine.

If you are travelling with kids, don’t forget to check out the mini SL (steam locomotive).

There was a temporary post office set up at Odori Park during the festival.  Want to know what’s so special about this post office?

If you mail anything from this post office, it will get a special Sapporo Snow Festival postmark! So make sure you go to the post office and mail a postcard home!

And of course, there was plenty of souvenir shopping to be done as well.  Check out the Sapporo Festival limited-edition goodies!

I highly recommend setting time aside to visit the festival both in the daytime and nighttime.   The snow sculptures look rather different when they are illuminated at night!

If you have time (or not freezing yet), hang around to catch some of the performances happening on the various stages around the park.

Okay, I have no mention it.  Considering Singapore lies on the equator and we don’t ever have snow, I really wasn’t expecting Singapore to be represented in a snow festival.  But we were! Do you recognise the icons on the snow sculpture?

Tsudome Site

From the Odori site, there are shuttle buses to take you to the Sapporo Dome (Tsudome). Make your way to the end of Odori Park where Sapporo TV Tower is and look for staff holding up signs that says “For Tsudome”.

Don’t rush your visit to Tsudome site.  Because over there, you can enjoy giant ice slides and snow tubing and it was free! So you can slide all you want without having to go all the way to a snow resort!

Susukino Site

The third site for the Sapporo Snow Festival is at Susukino, which is easily walkable from Odori Park.  This site is called ‘Susukino Ice World’ or ‘Susukino Ice Festival’ because instead of snow sculptures, you will find many ice sculptures here.

The best time to view these ice sculptures would be at night when they are lit up.

Visit Official Websites

For more information on Sapporo Snow Festival, check out the official website.

If you have any more questions about Sapporo Snow Festival, feel free to post them in the comments section and we’ll try out best to answer them!

Other festivals to check out

If you have more days to spend in Hokkaido, there are many other snow festivals going on in other cities in Hokkaido and they often coincide with the Sapporo Snow Festival.  Festivals that can be easily visited as a day-trip from Sapporo include:

Asahikawa Winter Festival (6 – 11 Feb)

> Visit official website

Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival (Late Jan – Early Feb)

> Visit official website

Otaru Snow Light Path

> Visit official website
> Read our blog post on Otaru Snow Light Path


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Supposed to be a stay-home mom, but hates staying home. Definition of parenting is bringing the boys out for 'experiential learning' in Singapore, Japan and wherever else in the world her husband can afford to pay for.

5Comments

  1. […] ← Sapporo Snow Festival Hokkaido Winter Rail Travel: Okhotsk-No-Kaze and Ryuhyo Norokko Trains → […]

  2. Grace Wu says:

    Hi,

    We are going to Hokkaido late of January but unfortunately must go home 4-5 days before the Sapporo snow festival starts :(. Will we still have chance to look at statues before the opening day? How about in Otaru and Asahikawa? It helps us to plan whether to do Tokyo first before Hokkaido if we still can see the sculptures. Thank you.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Hi,

      Yes, the major snow sculptures should be up by then. You can walk around the park to see them do the touching up of the snow sculptures. I arrived in Sapporo one week before the festival began and could already see the snow sculptures, but with a lot of construction vehicles in the background.

      In Otaru, the snow light path will only be lit during the festival period. If you go outside of the festival period, the canal will look like any ordinary winter day.

      For Asahikawa, I didn’t visit the site prior to the festival so I’m not sure what it’s like a week before the festival.

      Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival starts slightly earlier, so you should be in time to catch that.

  3. Hi Bumblebeemum,
    We, a group of 10 elderly from Malaysia intend to go for sightseeing winter holidays in Hokkaido. We planned to go on the 10th February for 10 days. We don’t ski. I’ve read your comments and suggestions and I’ve copy paste one of your suggestions here.
    1) New Chitose Airport
    2) Tomamu
    3) Obihiro (Tokachigawa Onsen)
    4) Kushiro
    5) Lake Akan
    6) Abashiri
    7) Sounkyo
    8) Asahikawa
    9) Sapporo (with day trip to Otaru from here)
    10) New Chitose Airport
    Questions:
    1. We intend to stay at a hotel around Sapporo only. Can we take a bus daily from our hotel and visit all those locations?
    2. Do we need to buy a pass to visit those places?

    • bumblebeemum says:

      1. It is not possible to do day trips from Sapporo daily to all the places you listed. Some of them are very far from Sapporo. It is possible to do day trips to Tomamu and Asahikawa. It is also technically possible to go to Abashiri for a day trip just for the ice-breaker cruise. But for Lake Akan and Sounkyo, it is recommended to spend at least a night there.

      I recommend you start your trip at Sapporo for the Sapporo Snow Festival which will be from 6 to 12 Feb next year.

      2. You can consider getting the Hokkaido Rail Pass.

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