Hokkaido’s Sapporo rolls out winter line-up for 2024

Japan’s Sapporo Snow Festival will return to its pre-Covid glory this year, with all event sites in operation for the first time in four years, united under the theme “big snow sculpture.”

The international event on the northernmost main island of Hokkaido will be held at multiple venues across Sapporo and is expected to welcome more than two million visitors between February 4 and 11.

This year’s Sapporo Snow Festival will see all event sites in operation for the first time since Covid

The Tsudome site will be open for the first time since 2020, offering adults and children opportunities to play in the snow and learn about local culture. The returning venue is designed as the community hub of the event, featuring outdoor attractions including snow rafts and slides, a snow maze, stage events and Hokkaido-themed booths introducing the island’s food and drink.

At the city centre’s Odori venue, snow and ice sculptures of all sizes will cover about 1.5 kilometres. A curling experience will be offered for visitors in cooperation with the city’s curling association and Sapporo International Art Festival (which takes place every three years) will be held for the first time at the Odori venue. Its “snow town of the future” exhibit aims to offer insights on mobility and lifestyles in the years to come.

In expectation of more overseas travellers attending the festival this year, organisers are also rolling out events tailored for international visitors at Sapporo Hitsujigaka Observation Hill.

“The highlight of this site is the large snow-sculpture making activity, with sculptures of almost two metres a possibility,” said a spokesperson for the event.

The four-hour activity includes instruction from a snow sculpture-making expert, interpretation in English and a lamb BBQ lunch, at a cost of 154,600 yen (US$1,047) for a group of two to five people.

Visitors can also make mini sculptures, spot snow art in the Snow Art Forest and enjoy illuminations in the evening.

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