Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Yuki Matsuri

The Sapporo Yuki Matsuri (Snow Festival) is this week. This famous festival began in 1950 when some high school students created some snow statues in Odori Park.  By 1955, the Japanese Military started building giant sculptures including detailed copies of world landmarks. The festival really became famous in 1972, when the Winter Olympics were held in Sapporo. This year is the 63rd annual festival.  You can check out this website http://www.snowfes.com/english/ to find out more about this year’s event.

After lunch yesterday, Ted and I walked to the train station and headed for Sapporo.  Everything I wanted to bring with me would fit in the pockets of my two coats (my camera is the size of a deck of cards).  Ted had a big bag with the mono-pod attached to the outside for all his camera gear. The quality of the pictures Ted takes justifies the extra “stuff”.

The train takes about an hour, so I pulled out my train stitching project to work on.

It was fairly warm in Sapporo (maybe mid-30’s F) and not much snow around, other than the festival snow.  I think they must have trucked some of our snow to Sapporo.  There are three main venues for the festival and we only visited one – the Odori Park area, which is about 1.5 Km across.  We walked from one end to the other while it was still daylight, then walked it again after dark to see the illuminated sculptures. In addition to the snow sculptures there are hundreds of food vendors and souvenir booths, stages with entertainment, and winter activity areas.

At one end of the park is an ice skating rink, complete with skate rentals. Next to the ice rink was a giant ice sculpture of a castle, which was designed by a third grader from Sendai.

In the next block there is a 60 meter snowboard jump platform.  This was quite exciting and we watched for a long time, both in the daylight and after dark under the lights.

There were six giant sculptures
 “Snow Aquarium – Treasures from the Sea”.

“Let the Magic Reach Everyone”

“Taj Mahal"

“National Palace Museum (Tawain)”

“Aizu Tsuruga Castle”

“Toriko & One Piece”

Several medium sculptures

Citizen Sculptures

There is a cross country ski area and a slide for children.


There is a sculpture contest from different countries and we saw them working.

This festival is listed in the book, One Thousand Places to See before You Die, and I understand why.  We had a great day.


Sun City Stitcher said...

Very nice! We had quite a bit snow here recently and folks made sculptures in their yards. Not quite as spectacular as those at the festival!

Benjamin Martin said...

I've yet to get up to Hokkaido, so thanks for sharing all the great pictures from the festival! Its great to see some snow after so long in Okinawa!