FX Excursions

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Wines on the Wing

Plan Now for Sapporo Snow Festival

by Barbara Rogers

Dec 25, 2023

© Seiksoon | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / Asia

For a once-in-a-lifetime winter vacation with your family, consider traveling to Japan for the annual Sapporo Snow Festival. A venue for the International Snow Sculpture Contest, the festival features more than 400 snow and ice sculptures.

 

Displayed in the 1.5-mile-long Odori Park in Sapporo’s center, the sculptures can reach 50 feet in height; the most dramatic of them are replicas of famous buildings or shrines. Walking among these frozen structures, it’s hard to believe they are built entirely of packed snow. This year’s statues will be built by teams from Hawai’i; Indonesia; Poland; Singapore; Thailand; Lithuania; Mongolia; and Portland, Oregon.

 

Not all statues are created by competing teams; dozens more are made by local groups and individuals. Some are large enough to act as stages for concerts and performances, and the statues are lighted every evening, turning the park into a glittering wonderland. You can see a bird’s-eye view of the park from the soaring Sapporo Tower at the end of the park.

 

Along with Odori Park are two other venues for sculptures, events and activities. At the family-oriented Tsu Dome area are giant snow slides, an ice-skating rink (there’s another rink in Odori Park where you can rent skates), snow rafting, Nordic skiing, food vendors and additional snow sculptures.

 

Colored lights bring sculptures along the Susukino entertainment district to life, and an ice bar here serves hot drinks.

 

While it may be a little late for seeing this winter’s festival Feb. 4–11, 2024, there’s plenty of time to plan for the next festival,  Feb. 2–14, 2025.

#WhereverFamily

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