Hokkaido’s snow sculpture festivals

31 Jan 2018 in Have Fun

Wrap up warm and head to Hokkaido for epic snow sculptures, 100-metre snow slides and sub-zero concerts!


Every February, Hokkaido’s snowy winters are a chance for celebration! Japan’s northern island hosts several snow sculpture festivals – with the biggest and best-known the Sapporo Snow Festival (Feb 5-12, 2018).

February snow festival

Some 30,000 tons of snow are used to create around 200 sculptures in Sapporo – many of them monumental in size. Transporting and sculpting the snow is a major operation, with bulldozers, cranes and the Self-Defence Force (Japan’s military) enlisted to help out.

Ice festivals in Japan

The festival is spread over 3 sites.

At Tsu Dome, it’s all about family fun, with sculptures sitting alongside snow slides, snow rafting and a snow maze.

The main attraction, though, is Odori Park, a mile-long collection of snow and ice sculptures of all sizes, including those vying to win the International Snow Sculpture Contest. In the recent past, creations have included a giant bust of Donald Trump, a 60-foot high replica of Paris’s Arc de Triomphe and a host of oversized manga characters.

Biggest snow sculpture in the world

At night, the sculptures are lit up in spectacular fashion.

Further north, the Asahikawa Winter Festival (Feb 7-12, 2018) hosts its own impressive snow sculptures, including one monumental central creation – which once earned it a place in the Guinness Book of Records for the biggest snow sculpture.

Kids will love the 100-metre snow slides.

longuest snow slide in the world

Finally, on the north-east coast, the Abashiri Okhotsk Drift Ice Festival (Feb 10-12, 2018) features multiple snow sculptures, plus the chance to skidoo on a frozen lake!

Abashiri Okhotsk Drift Ice Festival

Looking for a base to explore Hokkaido’s snow festivals? Book yourself into Hoshino Resorts Tomamu – and don’t forget to bring your skiing gear!

hotel room made of ice

Photo credits:

かがみ~ / CC BY-NC-ND
sjrankin / CC BY-NC
David McKelvey / CC BY-NC-ND
かがみ~ / CC BY-NC-ND
喫遊趣 / CC BY-NC-ND



Your essential guide to the Shibuya crossing

09 May 2018 in Have Fun

Discover the astonishing facts and figures about Tokyo’s famed scramble crossing! Read more


Wakakusa Yamayaki: the festival with the flaming hill

19 Jan 2018 in Discover Japan

Giant rice crackers are thrown. And a hill is set on fire! Discover Nara’s eccentric festival. Read more


Tosenkyo: get your fans at the ready

02 Jun 2017 in Have Fun

Got a good aim? Then try your hand at Tosenkyo, Japan’s traditional fan-throwing game. Discover how and where you can play. Read more



5 Japanese films you should watch

07 Apr 2017 in Have Fun

What’s the best samurai film? The most popular anime? Or the kaiju monster movie everyone should see? Discover our list of 5 essential Japanese films. Read more


Yuru-kyara: the cute mascots taking over Japan

28 Mar 2018 in Have Fun

Who is Japan’s favourite yuru-kyara mascot? And who’s the zaniest? Discover all! Read more


4 things Japan does better

13 Dec 2017 in Discover Japan

Ever noticed how the Japanese do things differently – and often better? Discover our list of what they do best! Read more

most popular articles