FuJET- An Inside Look to the 2014 Hokkaido Trip, Part 1- Snow Festival

This February, FuJET will host a trip to the capital of the Japan’s largest prefecture: Sapporo, Hokkaido. Sign-ups for this trip will start on November 10th. Before sign-ups start, here is part 1 of a series of articles detailing what Sapporo and Hokkaido have in store for you. To check out full details, check here or on the official facebook event page

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2014 Snow Festival Poster

February 5th 2014 will mark the start of the 65th Sapporo Snow Festival. This festival is one of the largest in Japan, attracting over 2 million visitors from both within Japan and internationally. The Snow Festival traces its roots back to 1950, when a few high school students decided to have some fun by making a handful of snow sculptures in the middle of Sapporo’s Odori Park, now the main venue of today’s incarnation of the festival. Spreading across three different locations, the 2014 Snow Festival will be held from the 5th through the 11th.

Odori Park Location

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View of Odori Park from Sapporo TV Tower

Odori Park is the central heart of Sapporo City; it is 1.5km long running from the east to the west of the city. Odori is the main location and the birth place of the snow festival. As such, Odori hosts the main snow sculptures of the festival, around a dozen snow sculptures of behemoth proportions, measuring around 25 meters wide and 15 meters tall. In addition to the the main snow sculptures, the park is peppered with around 100 smaller (around 2 meters tall) sculptures. In addition to these sculptures, Odori will also play host to the 41st International Snow Sculpture Contest at International square. Around a dozen teams from around the globe craft their works of snowy art while festival denizens look on. Not only are there the snow sculptures for you to enjoy at Odori, there is also the ice skating rink, winter food stalls, and the incredibly impressive snowboard jump platform. Throughout the week, concerts are held at Odori, oftentimes using the snow sculptures as frosty stages. Indeed, these snow creations are beautiful to behold during the day but once the winter sun sets, the entire park is illuminated until 22:00, turning the park grounds into a completely different experience. To top off everything, Sapporo TV Tower sits at one end of Odori Park, providing you the perfect location to view the festival from a bird’s eye view. (It costs 700 yen to enter the tower once or you can purchase a 1000 yen ticket to access the tower twice in the same day– once for a daytime view and once for an evening view.) By the way– just in case you’re wondering, here’s a step-by-step ‘tutorial’ on how the big centrepiece sculptures are made: HERE~!

Susukino Location

Susukino, Sapporo’s entertainment district (the largest entertainment district north of Tokyo), is another venue for the Snow Festival. The Susukino location houses around 100 ice sculptures, which are lit up daily until 23:00. Susukino is one subway stop away from Odori park, and it is completely fascinating. We’ve all seen ice sculpture pieces at weddings and the like. However, you probably haven’t seen sculptures with entire fish and hairy crabs incased within. Beyond the sculptures, ramen alley, clubs, and restaurants can all be found in Susukino.

Tsu Dome Location

Map of the 2013 Tsu Dome Attraction Layout

Map of the 2013 Tsu Dome Attraction Layout

The Tsu Dome location of the snow festival is the furthest from central Sapporo. However, it more than makes up for that fact with the amount of things to be done here. This site hosts 3 different types of snow slides, snow rafting, and snow sculptures created by Sapporo locals. Inside of the dome you’ll find food and an event stage hosting different activities. The Tsu Dome site is open daily from 9:00-17:00. Oh, and I did I mention that you can visit the Republic of Yukidaru-man, and even build your own snowy denizen to become a citizen of the republic?

Links
Part 1-Snow Festival
Part 2-Sapporo
Part 3-Dressing for the Cold
Part 4-Asahikawa
Part 5-Otaru
Part 6-I’m on a Boat
Part 7-Asano Hotel
Part 8– Getting Around Sapporo
Part 9– Skiing&Snowboarding
Part 10– Hokkaido Food
Part 11– Ramen Alley
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