Winter Escapade Report : Sapporo Snow Festival 2013

An excerpt from the Sapporo Snow Festival Official Website

The Sapporo Snow Festival, one of Japan’s largest winter events, attracts a growing number of visitors from Japan and abroad every year.
Every winter, about two million people come to Sapporo to see a large number of splendid snow statues and ice sculptures which line Odori Park, the grounds at Community Dome Tsudome, and the main street in Susukino.
For seven days in February, these statues and sculptures (both large and small) turn Sapporo into a winter dreamland of crystal-like ice and white snow.

I was a bit late with my planning to go to this event, thus, instead of the planned 3 days stay for the event, it only became two days. But, unbeknown to me, two days is actually more than enough.

Itinerary:
Day 1
1. Sapporo Beer Garden – home to one of Japan’s most famous beer brand
2. Sapporo Snow Festival – the most popular Hokkaido event during the winter.
3. Otaru Snow Festival – another snow festival, in a port city 45mins away from Sapporo

Day 2
1. A Snow Festival near Chitose, Hokkaido – a festival in a frozen lake with ice sculpture
2. Lake Shikotsu – Japan’s second deepest lake
3. Revisiting Sapporo Snow Festival venu

Sapporo Beer Garden
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGenghis Khan
Coming straight from New Chitose Airport, I went to visit the Sapporo Beer Garden, which is home to one of Japan’s most famous beer brands. I had the famous Hokkaido delicacy called Genghis Khan, which is basically grilled Muttons with vegetables.

Otaru Snow Festival
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACheese Miso

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After unloading my luggage in my hotel for the night, I headed on to Otaru, a port city 45mins away from Sapporo. There, I witnessed the famous Otaru Snow Festival. I liked this festival better than the Sapporo one. Volunteers from South Korea and China were also in the event. Here, I had Hokkaido’s most famous Miso ramen. I added cheese on mine, since I love cheese, with gyoza as my side dish. Miso is the least among my favorite ramen flavor but the Hokkaido one made me rethink about Miso ramen.

Sapporo Snow Festival
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Coming back from Otaru, I tried to go around to see the remaining lit up scultures in the Sapporo Snow Festival (the event closes at 10pm). Then, since my hotel is conveniently located near the event area, I continued on in the morning to go around the area. And killing off time there before I embarked my trip back to Tokyo that same day. They had to tear everything down by 8pm that day so I was there to witness the pre-tearing of the big sculptures. Sad I would say.

Hyoubaku Festival in Lake Shikotsu
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As a side trip, I also visited the Hyoubaku Festival, an ice festival near Lake Shikotsu. I also went for a dip in the onsen overlooking the lake. It was such a blissful experience.

Another view of Lake Shikotsu
Lake Shikotsu

Otaru Port
Otaru Canal at Blue Hour

The temperature throughout the trip was 1c on the average, but this didn’t stop me from not enjoying the trip. I would say, probably, I can beat the temperature in Russia? Haha! I wouldn’t say.

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