Spectacular 69th Sapporo Snow Festival

by michgraune

It was a wonderful experience at the Sapporo Snow Festival! We are glad that we were able to experience it this year while having a break from snowboarding in Niseko. And I can’t believe the amount of snow they have used to create substantial high snow sculptures and sculptures of ice!

Ice sculptures in Susukino

Numerous international and regional best food stall in Odori Park

Gigantic Snow Sculptures that illuminates at night

The Sapporo Snow Festival (from February 5-12, 2018) is the largest winter festival in Japan and has been attracting visitors locally and internationally. It’s always expected to have 2 million visitors every winter and beholds numerous gallant snow and ice sculptures that line Odori Park, grounds of Community Dome in Tsudome and along the main street in Susukino.


The festival has three different sites for three different themes. Entrance is free, but you have to pay to enjoy some activities. Both Odori and Susukino Site is available at any time. We were given 5 hours to roam around and visit different sites, but the allocated time wasn’t enough, especially walking in the crowd and the difficulty of walking on snow/ice.

Odori Park:

Location: Nishi 1 chome to Nishi 12 chome

Illumination starts at sunset to 22:00 (February 5-12, 2018)

Our drop off point was near to Sapporo TV Tower which made the Odori Park our first site to visit. Odori Park is located at the heart of Sapporo and spreads for 1.5 kilometers. It is also the main venue in Sapporo Snow Festival that runs from February 5-12, 2018. It was pretty exciting seeing multiple food stalls (Yatai), families enjoying in the ice skating rink, a stellar live bands performance and snowboard air ramp competition. There was so much to do here!

Appetizing best local food and drinks.

We had a fantastic time at the festival!

Snowboarding competition at Odori Site

Massive snow sculpture of Cup Noodles

List of participants of The International Snow Sculpture Contest

There are plenty of areas to relax and dine at Odori Site


Location: Ekimae-dori from Minami 4-Jo to Minami 7-Jo, Chou-ku

Illumination turned off at 22:00

This is the Ice Sculptures site located at Ekimae-Dori, a main street of Susukino. There are 60 crystal-like ice sculptures and they hold an international ice sculpture competition. The weather was unpredictable since we have arrived in Sapporo and we weren’t able to enjoy this site because of the heavy snow.

Time for a photo opt!

There are numerous restaurants in Susukino Site if you want to leave the crowd in Odori Park.

The weather is indeed unpredictable — massive snowfall walking towards Susukino Site.


Location: Minami 4 jo ~ Minami 7 jo

Open: 9:00 – 17:00 (February 1-12, 2018)

This is the second largest site of the Sapporo Snow Festival that runs from February 1-12, 2018. Both kids and those young at heart will enjoy the large snow slides and snow rafting area. There are plenty of attractions and have a large area for refreshment and relaxation.


  • Dress for the cold

If you are not used or first time experiencing freezing temperatures, then it is important to dress in layers for this event. It is necessary to have a thick warm jacket, beanie/hat, gloves, winter socks and thermal to wear underneath. You will be spending a lot of time wandering outside, so it’s better to wear more than one layer on your legs. I would suggest wearing a waterproof jacket and pants, since being wet can cause chill quickly. And also, check the weather before going to the event.

  • Hand warmers

Hand warmers can come in handy especially if you won’t find any shelter if you plan to continue exploring different sites. You can purchase them at any pharmacy or any dollar store. They are a single item to be activated prior to use which you can put in your pocket or anywhere to bring about cozy warmth for several hours. They are a lifesaver!

  • Footwear in the snow

I would suggest using a good quality of waterproof insulated boots with non-skid soles. I had plenty encounter of slipping when walking on ice especially when the snow gets hardened overnight, even with my winter boots. It can get very dangerous walking on ice or snow at times! Also, waterproof boots help to keep your toes and feet from getting a cold.


It can get very overwhelming in Sapporo Snow Festival especially if it’s your first time. We booked our transport from SkiJapan.com  from Niseko to Sapporo, which made everything easy for us. If you have done your tour at daytime, don’t forget to allow some time at night for evening light up from 5 pm onwards. For me, the best sight can be seen at night! If you are feeling cold, there’s an underground mall to get warmed up or dine in numerous restaurants in Susukino.

We went on the first day of the festival and it was frustrating navigating through a crowd. There is less crowd on the weekday morning while evenings and weekends are always packed. Make sure to plan your time ahead when visiting!

Have a fabulous time in Sapporo Snow Festival, just like we did! <3

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Melanie Sparks February 8, 2018 - 11:51 pm

This is so awesome! I had no idea they had this event.

michgraune February 9, 2018 - 11:47 pm

We had a fabulous time! Delicious food, amazing shows and magnificent sculptures. A must visit! 🙂

Angel Lou February 8, 2018 - 11:58 pm

Super ganda!!! Someday I’ll be able to travel.. fingers crossed ❤

michgraune February 9, 2018 - 11:49 pm

I believe everyone should include this on their bucket list. Super ganda at super lamig! Lalo na walang snow sa Pilipinas. 🙂

Jenny Morrison February 9, 2018 - 5:07 am

The snow sculptures are amazing! I have always been fascinated by artists who sculpt, knowing their artwork will only last a period of time. So beautiful.

michgraune February 9, 2018 - 11:52 pm

Thanks Jenny! And I agree with you. Art always fascinates me. The event was a definitely an experience of a lifetime!

Mike Clegg from TravelAndDestinations February 9, 2018 - 4:13 pm

These sculptures are so impressive. It’s amazing that people can carve such things out of ice. I really like the large lit temple and also the family.

michgraune February 9, 2018 - 11:56 pm

We were impressed as well! I commend these artists who put their heart and soul to carve on ice and delicate powdered snow of Hokkaido. Loving the details too!

imladychi February 10, 2018 - 12:11 am

That is soooo cool. people are really talented. I am not one for hanging around in the cold but I will definitely sacrifice to see this beautiful art

michgraune February 10, 2018 - 12:12 am

It’s worth it! Layers is a must and hand warmers comes in handy 😉

passportforliving February 10, 2018 - 12:17 am

How on earth do people build those structures out of snow?!! Mind blown!

Logan February 10, 2018 - 4:30 am

What a fun time! I’m not a big fan of the cold, but this looks super sweet. Thanks for the tips!

priyanka February 11, 2018 - 6:35 am

So amazing what people can make out of ice! What a fun exhibit!

Pri | Paint The Town Chic

ihearthokkaido March 7, 2018 - 12:01 pm

Awesome post!

michgraune March 8, 2018 - 2:20 pm

Thank you! I heart Hokkaido too! <3


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