Articles 23 Feb 2024

Getting to Know the Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan

Unlike Indonesia, Japan is a country with four seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. As expected, in every season there are always spectacular festivals. For example, during the winter season, which lasts from mid-December to March, a lot of festivals are held in Japan.

One of these festivals is the Sapporo Snow Festival or Sapporo Yuki Matsuri, the biggest winter festival in Japan. Let us find out more about the festival in this article!

History of the Sapporo Snow Festival

As the stated in the Wikipedia, the Sapporo Snow Festival (Sapporo Yuki Matsuri) is a winter festival that lasts for one week and is held in early February. The festival was first held in 1950 by the apporo city government and tourism department. The festival received sponsorship from the Hokkai Times newspaper. Sapporo, in fact, had previously held winter festivals, but they were suspended due to World War II.

During the festival, six snow statues created by junior and senior high school students in Sapporo were exhibited. The idea for the creation of the snow statues came from a snow festival held in 1935 by elementary school students in Otaru City, Japan. Apart from these snow statues, in the festival there are also film screenings, dances, competitions, gymnastics, and contests.

At the first snow festival, the height of the statues exhibited was limited to only seven meters, but at the festival in 1953 this limitation was removed and students from the Fushimi Hokkaido Sapporo High School (now Hokkaido Sapporo Technical High School) created a statue of up to 15 meters called "Ascension". Around 1954, the city residents began to contribute and bring their statues.

Then, in 1955, more and more people participated in this festival and the statues increased in variety, such as statues of buildings. As it became increasingly famous, in 1959, tourists from outside Japan began to join the festivity of the Sapporo Snow Festival.

Locations of the Sapporo Snow Festival

Did you know that this amazing festival is held in three different locations? These are where you can find it:

  • Tsudome area, located in the Sapporo Community Dorm (885-1 Sakaemachi, Higashi, Sapporo), is popular among visitors. In this area you can see various attractions, such as the giant snow slides. The festival is open from 09.00-17.00. To get to this place, you can take the subway from Sapporo Station to Sakaemachi Station, and then walk for 15 minutes or take the shuttle bus.
  • Odori area, located in the Odori Park (1-12 Odori, Chui, Sapporo), features various giant snow statues arranged along the 1.5 km of the Odori area. The snow festival is open all day and in the evening the snow statues will be lit up as they are illuminated. To access the Odori area from JR Sapporo Station, take the Nanboku or Toho line to Odori Station and take Exit No 2, 5, 6, or 8.
  • Susukino area, located at Minami 4-Minami 7, Chuo, Sapporo in 4-Chrome, is a district famous for its delicious food. Similar to the Odori area, in this area the festival lasts all day and the statues are illuminated at night. How to get there? Take the Nanboku subway line to Sapporo Station and get off at Susukino and take Exit No. 4 or 5.

Enjoying the Sapporo Snow Festival

Not only can you see the beauty of snow sculptures, during this festival, you can also do other exciting activities, such as watching the snowboarding and mogul skiing competitions, playing on the ice skating and sliding arena, doing a culinary tour to taste various delicious winter foods, watching projection mapping, and others.

To prevent you from getting cold while enjoying the festival, choose thick, cozy clothes and layer them with sweaters, scarves, gloves and other winter outfits. Then, for the footwear, wear snow boots or non-slip spike shoes and warm socks. Also, don't forget to bring tissues, hand warmers, warm drinks, and so on.

Now you know the history of the Sapporo Snow Festival. It would be fun to spend your holiday in Japan to enjoy the festival. To ensure your trip is safe and comfortable, protect yourself with the Overseas Travel Insurance from MSIG Indonesia.

With this insurance, you don’t need to worry if something bad happens during your trip. Happy holiday!

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