How to Have the Best Sapporo Snow Festival

In early Feburary, heavy snowfall and blizzards cover the island of Hokkaido, Japan in beautiful, silver snow. From this snow is born the Sapporo Snow Festival — a winter event that puts Japan on the world stage in an iconic way. Put on hold for the last three years due to covid-19, it will finally be held again in 2023. In this article, we will describe the most important dates and locations of this multi-day, multi-location festival, and give you a glimpse into the festival itself.

Article Index

When is it?​

The 2023 Sapporo Snow Festival will be held from February 4th to February 11th. Because of the strict response of the Japanese government to the covid-19 pandemic, the festival was closed the past few years but will be open for the first time again in 2023. 

What is the Sapporo Snow Festival?

The Sapporo Snow Festival has a very humble origin story. One snowy day in 1950, six middle school boys made some snow sculptures in Odori Park for fun. From there, more and more people got involved every year, and it eventually grew into a massive, highly commercialized event that draws in millions of foreign and local tourists each year.

Things to do and Places to do them

The Sapporo Snow Festival is held within three main sites: the Odori (main) site, the Susukino Site, and the Tsu Dome site. Each site has many snow sculptures, but the types of attractions and activities vary from site to site.

Odori Site​

The Odori Site is located in within Sapporo, Hokkaido chuo-ku West Odori 1-chome to 10-chome (about 1.5km to 1 mile). There are many attractions within this area, including massive, breathtaking snow sculptures, live shows, and restaurants.

Dazzling snow sculptures of various sizes from small to gargantuan​

The Odori Site is host to perhaps the largest number of and greatest variety of snow sculptures.
At night, there is a light show involving the projection of many colored lights against the biggest snow sculptures. These images don’t do it justice — go see them in person!

Outdoor Skating Rink​

A skating rink that measures 22 meters by 17.5 meters (~70 x 50 feet) that you can enjoy with your family and friends is a favorite among the visitors of Sapporo Snow Festival’s Odori Site. There are also performance events held here at various periods during the festival.

Entry Fee: ¥1000 for adults, ¥500 for children under 12.
※ rental shoes are also available (16 – 31cm) — make sure to bring your own if you need to!

Massive Ski/Snowboarding Jump Ramp​

The Odori Site also features a massive ski/snowboarding jump ramp that measures 24m high, a length of 65m, and a maximum angle of 39°.
Witness professionals from all over Japan coming to this event to compete with each other.

Hokkaido Food Bazaar ・International Food Bazaar Gourmet Street​

All of the most famous and iconic foods of Hokkaido are represented within this Food Bazaar — all kinds of sea food from crab, sea urchin, scallops, and other Japanese winter food like Hokkaido style fried chicken, Ghengis Khan, and pork bowls.

Susukino Site​

The main feature of the Susukino Site is “ice”. There is a street entitled “Susukino Ice World” where many works of art made of ice litter the walkways.

Illumination Road​

A spot known to be a goldmine for photographers, walking through it is like walking through a fantasy world.
Make sure to stop by to get your Instagram pics and reels here.

Ice Slide​

Yes, it is literally a slide made of ice. Built for all ages to enjoy!

Ice Sculpture Competition

Made through many hours of chiseling ice into fine works of art, they are displayed for everyone to enjoy.

You can actually watch as a professional artist carves an ice sculpture with a chainsaw!

Tsu Dome Site

Events at the Tsu Dome site have been held both indoors and outdoors.

Things to Know Before Going

Dress for Winter Conditions

February is an especially cold month in Hokkaido where the temperatures will regularly fall below 0.
Dress accordingly — Snow caps, mittens, thermal underwear, scarves, snow boots, and heavy, waterproof coats and pants are a necessity.
Do not underestimate the cold!

Beware of congestion​

Because of combined local and foreign tourism, up to 3 million people have attended the event at once in the past. Make sure to keep an eye on your children or anyone who might get lost in the crowd.
Since it tends to get crowded around 9:00 a.m., we recommed that you plan your visit before 9:00 a.m. or after 22:00 to get the best experience.
The ice sculptres are beautiful in the morning sun, but also a sight to see when illuminated at night.

Admission Fees

General entry to the festival is free of charge. However, those who wish to participate in various events and activities may be charged on each occasion.

Official Website

If you want to check out the official Sapporo Snow Festival website, go here.

How to get there

Odori Site Directions

The Odori site is about a 15 minute walk from Sapporo Station.
※There is also a bus that departs from Sapporo Station. The bus ride to the Odori site is about 10 minutes.

Susukino Site Directions

The Susukino Site is nearby the Odori site. From the Odori site it is about an 8 minute walk.
Also, Susukino Station is nearby so you can arrive there and walk to the Susukino Site.

Tsu Dome Site Directions

The Tsudomu venue is about a 12-minute walk from Sakae-machi Station, so walking from Sakae-machi Station is recommended.

Thanks for reading!

Hopefully this article helps you enjoy the Sapporo Snow Festival. Please be careful of the winter conditions and have fun!

Over 2,700,000
Event Attendees
Sapporo City, Hokkaido
Author of this article
Scroll to Top