As an Australian seeing snow is extremely rare. So when I recently travelled to Sapporo, Japan for the annual Snow Festival and experienced a city covered in metres of snow I felt like I had arrived on another planet. In fact, it receives some of the biggest snowfalls in the world with an average of 5.96 meters each year.
This allows a unique festival to take place, one which features hundreds of sculptures carved out of ice and snow which goes on display at three locations around the city. This festival, simply called ‘Sapporo Snow Festival‘ runs for one week every February and has done so since 1950.
The number of snow sculptures goes into the hundreds, featuring popular characters from movies and video games, famous locations around the world, celebrities, and more. You can expect anything from Godzilla to Nintendo’s Mario and plenty of the Pokèmon character Pikachu.
Go to the centre of the city to a park called Odori Park and you will find some of the larger snow sculptures. Some of these are some 15 metres high or more. For 2017 this included Final Fantasy VII, one of the most popular video games of all time, and for which a remake is currently in development. There was also the famous Paris monument, Arc de Triomphe and Star Wars.
The festival will occur in 2018 from February 6th – 12th. Being one of the biggest events in the world which bring in over 2 million visitors means hotels book out early. My advice, book very early including domestic flights to and from Sapporo because it starts to get expensive.