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Snow Festival in Sapporo, Japan | A Magical Event

Ok I can’t resist one more ice carving and snow festival post. One of my well traveled readers, Sandra Taylor, mentioned that she lived in Sapporo Japan, a city that is well known for their annual Snow Festival. I started looking at photos of the Sapporo Snow Festival and was again amazed enough to want to share these photos with you.

Sapporo Snow Festival Ice Palace

A carved ice palace at the Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan

The last few months have been winter season in many countries and there were a number of ice and snow festival celebrations going on.

The Sapporo Snow Festival is Japan’s Largest Winter Event

Local kids enjoying the Sapporo Snow FestivalThe Sapporo Snow Festival draws in over 2 million visitors to Japan! How did it all start? Well, I was interested to learn that the Sapporo Snow Festival was inspired by a group of local high school students!

In 1950, six students decided to build snow sculptures in a central park in Sapporo, which gained them some local media attention. This happened during an important time because Japan was still recovering from the war. The action and enthusiasm of these students helped to spread a sense of hope for the local people. The word continued to spread throughout Sapporo and the Snow Festival was born.

The Snow Festival in Sapporo takes place in February of each year and lasts for seven days. The city is transformed into a real life winter wonderland, with hundreds of ice and snow sculptures on display for visitors and local people to enjoy.

City Hall Snow Sculpture at Sapporo Ice Festival

A snow carved version of City Hall erected for the Sapporo Snow Festival

Water God ice carving for Sapporo Snow Festival

An exquisite ice carving of a Japanese “Water God” displayed at the Snow Festival

Of course, a snow festival in Japan wouldn’t be complete without live music and entertainment, a “Queen of Ice” beauty contest, as well as ice carving and snow sculpture demonstrations. In one area of Sapporo called Susukino, carving artists can put their skills to the test by tackling 130 kilogram blocks of ice using chain saws and power tools!

Sapporo Snow Festival Ice Carver

A professional ice sculptor in action at the Sapporo Snow Festival


Photos of the 2012 Sapporo Snow Festival

February 2012 marks Sapporo’s 63rd Snow Festival. Have a look at some of the sculptures from this year’s event. One of themes from this year’s Snow Festival is the celebration of Japan’s relationship with other countries.

Two of the structures that were chosen to be featured included Taiwan’s National Palace Museum and India’s Taj Mahal:

Taiwan Museum Carving at Sapporo Snow Festival

An ice carved version of Taiwan’s National Palace Museum at the Sapporo Snow Festival

The ice carvings were especially enchanting at night when lit up with colored lights.

Taiwan Museum at night at Sapporo Snow Festival

The ice carving of Taiwan’s National Palace Museum is beautifully lit up at night

Taj Mahal Snow Sculpture at Sapporo Snow Festival

Incredible Snow Sculpture of India’s Taj Mahal

Here is the snow version of the Taj Mahal lit up after dark:

Taj Mahal Snow Sculpture at Sapporo Snow Festival

The Taj Mahal Snow Sculpture at Night

Among the largest snow sculptures this year was the Snow Aquarium:

Sea creature carvings at Snow Festival

The snow carved sea creatures are impressively realistic

Aren’t these sea creatures cute? Not to mention extremely well carved with great detail.

Carved Sea otter and tuna at Sapporo Snow Festival

This next photo, taken at night,  gives you an idea of how large the Snow Aquarium sculptures are:

Snow Aquarium during dark at Sapporo’s Snow Festival

The Snow Aquarium was one of the largest sculptures at the festival

A replica of the Japan’s Tsurugajo Castle was built at the snow festival to represent the country’s unique architecture.

Japan’s Tsurugajo Castle at Sapporo Snow Festival

The Snow Sculpted Tsurugajo Castle showcases Japanese Architecture

Here is a view of this amazing sculpture at night:

Tsurugajo Castle at night at Sapporo Snow Festival

Tsurugajo Castle Sculpture lit up at night

These were only a few of the spectacular ice carvings and snow sculptures at the Sapporo Snow Festival this year. It’s not hard to see why the festival draws in so many visitors around the globe!

Ice and Snow Festival Events Around the World

Wow! I hope you were as impressed with Sapporo’s Snow Festival as I was when I first saw the photos.

If you’d like to take a look at some other ice carving and snow sculptures in Alberta, Canada or in Harbin, China – you will really enjoy seeing the photos in my recent posts:

Ice Carving Sculptures: It’s a Winter Wonderland!

Ice Carving | A Spectacular Event in China

Thanks for joining me on our mini tour to Japan for the Sapporo Snow Festival!

Learn to carve like a pro

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2 Responses to Snow Festival in Sapporo, Japan | A Magical Event

  1. samina March 8, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

    hi nita
    hru? it was surprisingly wonders of ice carving.thnx dear. the images in day & night
    left a soothing& amazing marks upon heart. god bless u .

    • Nita March 9, 2012 at 9:47 am #

      I’m doing well, thank you. I’m glad that you enjoyed seeing these amazing sculptures.

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