Yuki Matsuri (雪祭り, snow festival) is celebrated every year at the beginning of February in Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido. It is one of the most popular festivals in Japan during the winter season. The Odori park area, where the biggest ice sculptures are built, is visited by two million people every year. Ice sculptors from all over the world come to Sapporo and build more than 400 sculptures, some of them gigantic. An international contest is organized for foreign participants; the funny thing is that the Thailand team (a country without snow) has won several times during the last years.
We went there a couple of years ago, but I don’t know why but the pictures and videos that I took got lost somewhere within my hard drives. Luckily I’ve finally found them and can share them here with you.
This is a video summary of the trip:
We started the first day eating a huge bowl of crab soup ramen in the famous yokocho ramen alley, an alley where there is only ramen restaurants!
We spent the rest of the day walking around downtown Sapporo, mostly around Susukino and Odori areas where the festival activities are located. The festival atmosphere starts to heat up as the night falls, the ice sculptures are lit up, the food stalls start serving food and drinks and several music bands play next to the biggest ice sculptures.
Dragon Ball ice sculpture!
Of course Totoro had to be there
Another day we decided to explore the rest of the city, eat great food and we ended up climbing up a mountain west of the city until we arrived to a mysterious temple surrounded by a forest full of snow.
A great discovery, which was no more than an anecdote, but made us feel in the middle of nowhere, in a forgotten place with a temple half-buried in the snow, where we had arrived after days and days of trudging through the mountains, avoiding yetis and terrible tribes of winter trolls, lacking in food and water, without sherpas and shivering with cold, with the aim of finding the golden buddha eyes and ask him about the secret to happiness. – Ignacio Izquierdo
This is the official English website of the snow festival. The flight from Tokyo to Sapporo takes approximatelly 90 minutes and costs between 100 and 200 euros (120 and 270 dollars).