Exploring the Sapporo Snow Festival (さっぽろ雪まつり)

Want to see more photos of the festival? Visit the 大通公園 (Odori Park), つどーむ, and すすきの location pages.

The city of Sapporo in northern Japan has hosted its weeklong snow festival every year since 1950. The first festival had only six participants––local high school students who built six modest snow statues in Odori Park. Now, millions of people visit the festival to view over 200 elaborate snow statues and ice sculptures. Often the statues depict notable events, places or people from the previous year. This year, there are replicas of Thailand’s Wat Bendamabophit Temple, Taipei’s Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and Japan’s Kabuki-za Theater, as well as sculptures of anime characters Hatsune Miku, Kasane Teto and Sekka Yufu.


The city of Sapporo on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido has been hosting the Sapporo Snow Festival since the early 1980s. Each February the city’s streets are decorated with snow and ice sculptures celebrating the beauty of winter. The sculptures range from enormous - grand buildings, temples and monuments, to smaller and more finely-detailed - pop culture characters, animals, and historical figures.

In addition to countless snow and ice sculptures created purely for the love of art and winter, the festival draws competitive sculptors from all over the world for annual competitions that take place in different sites around the city.

“The event has set several World Records, including the audience-participatory construction of the most snowmen ever made in one place (over 10,000 – a record which still stands). The next installment, now the 65th Sapporo Snow Festival, will be held this February 5th through 11th in 2014.”

[via Beautiful/Decay and Weird Twist]


Don’t worry if your local playground is covered in snow. Just turn that snow into a playground! That’s what happened last month in Kiruna, Sweden for the 2015 Kiruna Snow Festival. Swedish designers PINPIN, ICEHOTEL and others collaborated on a variety of awesome snow and ice creations specifically made to be played on, including a maze featuring 10-foot-tall walls, a pair of slides, a huge snow lantern, four egg-shaped seats and benches made of ice. This wonderful winter playground is open to the public and will remain so until it all melts, most likely sometime in April.

[via Junkculture, Architizer and Laughing Squid]


Japan’s Darth Vader snow sculpture is the eighth wonder of the world

The sculpture, which stands 50 feet high, is officially endorsed by Lucasfilm and overseen by the Walt Disney Company. The finished product reportedly required a jaw-dropping seven million pounds of snow—the largest amount ever recorded at the festival—and took 2,000 workers over a month to build.

As Vader said in Revenge of the Sith, “SNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW.”