Saturday, 11 January 2014

Sapporo Snow Festival, Japan

Another snowy view, this time from Japan.

The Sapporo Snow Festival is a festival held annually in Sapporo, Japan, over seven days in February. Odori Park, Susukino, and Tsudome are the main sites of the festival. The 2014 Snow Festival dates are 5 to 11 February.

The festival is one of Japan's largest and most distinctive winter events. In 2007 (58th Festival), about two million people visited Sapporo to see the hundreds of snow statues and ice sculptures at the Odori Park and Susukino sites, in central Sapporo, and at the Satoland site. An International Snow Sculpture Contest has been held at the Odori Park site since 1974, and 14 teams from various regions of the world participated in 2008. The subject of the statues varies and often features an event, famous building or person from the previous year.

The Snow Festival began in 1950, when six local high school students built six snow statues in Odori Park. In 1955, the Japan Self-Defense Forces from the nearby Makomanai base joined in and built the first massive snow sculptures, for which the Snow Festival has now become famous. Several snow festivals existed in Sapporo prior to the Sapporo Snow Festival, however, all of these were suspended during World War II.

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