Sapporo Snow and Ice Festival
Snow and ice sculptures in Odori Park
Our one month journey through Japan
begins in the bustling city of Sapporo.
It is located on the very top most
islands in the archipelago: Hokkaido. In
1972 Sapporo hosted the Winter Olympics;
the first ever held in Asia. If you like
beer the city is home to the Sapporo
Brewery. However, if you fancy something
sweeter you could try: "White Lovers".
They are white chocolate biscuits famous
to Sapporo and exclusive to Hokkaido.
Sapporo is also the home of the
annual Yuki Matsuri or the Sapporo Snow
Festival. This festival draws more than
two million tourists from around the
world each year. Between February 5 to
February 11 you can hope for a break in
the often heavy snow fall. If you are
lucky and the sun comes out you may
wander around the massive, artistic, and
dazzling ice sculptures in Odori Park.
Even though the temperature can fall
well below freezing, if the sun is out
the ice festival is the place to be.
While walking around the exhibition be
aware of the many mobs of school
children. They will try to practice
their English by continually asking you
where you are from and to mark your home
on maps they carry. This starts off
quite flattering at first, but after
nine or ten times it can get old.
However, the kids are friendly and very
Massive, artistic, and dazzling ice
From Odori Park it is a pleasant 30
minute walk to the Sapporo Beer Garden
that is located in the Sapporo Beer
Factory. When you get there you can eat
a yummy lunch of local fair. Such things
as: thinly sliced lamb and vegetables
that you cook for yourself on your table
grill. After lunch visit the Sapporo
Beer Museum and buy a beer tasting.
There are many kinds of Sapporo beers,
and they are all good. You may also meet
interesting locals here as it is a hang
out for them. The people in Sapporo are
very friendly and it is not uncommon to
meet older locals that have never seen a
non-Asian tourist before. If you
encounter this my advice is just to go
with the flow. There is very little
crime in Japan and the people are
extremely polite and kind.
Sapporo Beer Garden
Before you leave Sapporo make sure
you see the Sapporo Ice Festival by
night lights. Many of the sculptures
look better under lights as you can see
more contrast on the white snow and ice.
Some of the bigger exhibits also put on
colored light shows, amazing.
We will continue heading south in my
next installment of traveling in Japan.