Experience the magic of the Sapporo Snow Festival in Feb 2024! Enjoy strikingly detailed snow sculptures and Hokkaido's charm. Here we share all you need to know about how to enjoy this tremendous event.
What is the Sapporo Snow Festival?
The Sapporo Snow Festival is a famous snow and ice festival in Hokkaido. In 2024, it will be held for eight days from February 4–11, and the event at the Tsudome site, which was postponed in 2023, will also return. One of this delightful festival's charms is enjoying the many strikingly detailed snow sculptures exhibited.
Since its start in 1950, the festival has been an annually celebrated winter tradition.
Sapporo is located in an area with heavy snowfall, with up to five meters of snowfall per year. To create the sculptures, heavy machinery is used to gather 30,000 tons of snow each year.
The sculptures at the festival are created with a variety of themes, including famous buildings and World Heritage sites such as Japanese castles, Japanese and Hokkaido culture, and subcultures such as sports, movies, manga, anime, and gaming.
The festival attracts visitors from all over the world, with around 2.73 million guests attending the event in 2019. It is a unique opportunity to enjoy the snow, cold weather, and Hokkaido's charm.
The 74th Sapporo Snow Festival is scheduled to take place at three different venues: Odori, Tsudome, and Susukino.
The main attraction of the festival will be five giant snow sculptures, accompanied by various small and medium-sized snow sculptures, winter attractions, and snow sculptures created by citizens' groups. Additionally, after a gap of four years, the International Snow Sculpture Competition will also be held.
・Held from February 4–11, 2024
・Venues: Odori (Nishi 1-chome to Nishi 10-chome) , Susukino (Ekimae-dori from Minami 4-jo Dori to Minami 7-jo Dori) and Tsudome Site
- 1-Chome: Winter attractions, etc.
- 2-Chome: Sapporo International Art Festival 2024
- 3-Chome: Winter attraction or Small and medium snow sculptures
- 4-Chome: Large snow sculpture
- 5-Chome: Large snow sculpture
- 6-Chome: Small and medium snow sculptures etc.
- 7-Chome: Large snow sculpture
- 8-Chome: Large snow sculpture
- 9-Chome: Small and medium Snow sculptures etc.
- 10-Chome: Large Snow Statue
- 11-Chome: International Snow Sculpture Competition etc.
- 12-Chome: Small and medium Snow sculptures etc.
How the large snow sculptures at the Sapporo Snow Festival are made
Let's take a look at how the giant snow sculptures used in previous years were made.
Every year, the design for the massive snow statues starts around the autumn of the previous year. Based on the draft, a 1/40 scale model is created. Then blueprints are drawn, and then a discussion about how to go about producing the statues.
The snow used for a giant snow sculpture can pile up to a four to five-story building and fill 600 trucks. Clean snow is collected from areas around Sapporo for a total volume of about 6,000 trucks.
On the location of the sculpture, the snow is piled up using heavy machinery, and a scaffold is built. The snow is then bound and stabilized. After creating a rough shape with heavy machinery, the statue is brought to life by hand.
This is an elaborate task that goes on throughout the night. Once the shape of the snow sculpture is created, other smaller components that have been sculpted are added, creating all the fine details.
Festival Directions: Getting to the Odori Park area
From New Chitose Airport
JR New Chitose Airport Station → JR Sapporo Station → Sapporo Station on the Sapporo Municipal Subway (Namboku Line or Toho Line) → Odori Station (Approx. 50 minutes).
From JR New Chitose Airport Station, take the Airport rapid service train bound for Otaru on the Chitose Line. Get off at Sapporo Station and head towards the West Exit to take Sapporo Subway’s Namboku Line train bound for Makomanai. You can also choose to take the East Exit and head towards Sapporo Subway’s Toho Line train bound for Fukuzumi. Both trains will take you to Odori Station.
Two bus companies operate services to the Sapporo Snow Festival area. Chuo Bus services bound for Odori Park depart from the stop located near Arrival Gate 4 on the first floor of the domestic terminal building. The duration of the ride is approximately 1 hour and 6 minutes.
Hokuto Kotsu buses, on the other hand, depart from in front of Arrival Gate 2 and also stop near Odori Park. The duration of the ride is around 1 hour and 8 minutes.
From Odori Station on the Sapporo Municipal Subway
Odori Station serves as a hub for three different subway lines: the Tozai Line, the Namboku Line, and the Toho Line. Each line has its own set of platforms and destinations, so it's essential to choose the right one depending on your desired location within Odori Park.
If you're heading towards 3-Chome or 4-Chome, the Namboku Line is your best bet, while the Toho Line is a better option for getting to 1-Chome and 2-Chome, which are located near the Sapporo TV Tower.
- 1-Chome: Exit 27
- 3-Chome: Exit 6, Exit 8 (Elevator available)
- 4-Chome: Exit 5
- 5-Chome to 7-Chome: Exit 2
From Sapporo Station via the Underground Passage
You can reach the venue by walking straight from JR's Sapporo Station, which takes around 10-15 minutes. To avoid the cold weather, you can use the Sapporo Underground Pedestrian Space (Chikaho) to easily get to the part of Odori Park located in 3-Chome and 4-Chome.
The concourse has multiple exits that directly connect to different areas of the park, making it a great option for those looking to conveniently walk to their desired destination.
Tips for enjoying the snow festival
- Book accommodations in advance: Since the festival attracts many visitors, it's wise to book your accommodation well in advance. Consider staying in a hotel near Odori Park, where the main festival takes place.
- Pack warm clothing: Sapporo can be extremely cold in February, so dress in layers, and don't forget a good winter coat, gloves, and a hat. Also consider stopping by a convenience store or 100 yen shop to purchase hand-warmers.
- Bring the right footwear: You'll also want waterproof boots for walking in the snow. Since the roads and sidewalks are icy during this time, we also recommend wearing non-slip snow boots or putting on some attachable slip-resistant soles.
- Try festival food: Sample delicious Hokkaido street food at the festival stalls. Look out for specialties like hot ramen and grilled seafood.
- Photography: Bring your camera or smartphone to capture the stunning sculptures, especially during the day and when they're lit up at night. Be mindful that drones are prohibited, and tripods may not be usable in many areas.
The Sapporo Snow Festival will be held in 2024! Why not experience this amazing festival for yourself?
Sapporo Snow Festival (Susukino Venue)さっぽろ雪まつり すすきの会場
- Address Ekimae-dori from Minami 4-jo Dori to Minami 7-jo Dori, Chuo-ku, Sapporo 060-0042
Dates: February 4 - 11, 2024
Sapporo Snow Festival (Tsudome Venue)さっぽろ雪まつり つどーむ会場
- Address 885-1 Sakaemachi, Higashi Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 007-0852
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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