The Sapporo Snow Festival (Sapporo Yuki-matsuri) is one of Japan’s largest winter events held annually in Sapporo.
The 2013 Yuki-matsuri dates are February 5 to 11.
The Snow Festival, which began in 1950, has grown in stature from a local event to an international carnival. Starting from six snow sculptures made by some Sapporo high school students, the festival added ice sculptures five years later when members of the Japan Self- Defense Forces took part in the fun.
The main exhibition sites are Odori Park, in the center of downtown Sapporo; Tsudome, where kids can enjoy snow slides and mazes, and a snow experience corner, and adults can sample regional dishes; and Susukino, where the 32nd Suskino Ice Festival will be held. This festival, also located downtown, presents ice sculptures featuring live crab, squid and salmon, and other forms of entertainment.
The sculptures are on display 24 hours a day at Odori Park and Susukino, and are illuminated until 10 p.m. at Odori Park and until midnight at Susukino. Tsudome is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Snow statues and sculptures are all destroyed the day after the festival, a site that can be enjoyed by visitors that have not yet returned home.
The Snow Festival began in 1950, when local junior and high school students built six snow sculptures in Odori Park.