50 things you should know to enjoy the Sapporo Snow Festival even more ~History of the Snow Festival~

Introduction to useful information and tips on the Snow Festival!
It’ll help you have more fun at the Snow Festival!
It’ll make you want to come again!
You’ll want to tell everyone about it!

Snow and Ice Sculptures
How to Enjoy the Festival

1.How did the Snow Festival start?

In 1950, some middle and high school students built snow sculptures in Odori Park. The event started with just these 6 snow sculptures.

2.Why did Odori Park become the site for the Snow Festival?

Odori Park used to be a place where the citizens of Sapporo dumped the snow they shoveled from the streets and around their homes. This snow was used to build snow sculptures.

3.What was the first Snow Festival like?

In addition to the first 6 snow sculptures, events such as a “snowball fight carnival” were held.

4.How many people attended the 1st Snow Festival?

Approximately 50,000 people, a much larger crowd than expected, came to the event. Since then, the Snow Festival has gradually developed to become a regular winter event in Sapporo.

5.Is the event held every year?

The Snow Festival has been held every year since 1950. A snow sculpture made by the citizens of Sapporo made its first appearance in the 5th festival. At the 6th festival, the Ground Self-Defense Forces started to participate and many more sculptures were created. In this way, the event steadily developed into a large event and is celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2019.

6.When were the first giant snow sculptures made?

It started in 1953, when the Hokkaido Sapporo Fushimi High School (currently the Hokkaido Sapporo Technical High School) created a 15-meter snow sculpture titled “Shoten”, meaning “ascension”. Until then the snow sculptures were bound to a height limit of 7 meters.

7.How did the Snow Festival become so famous?

In 1959, approximately 2,500 people participated in creating snow sculptures. This was picked up by the media and introduced on TV and in newspapers. The following year, many tourists from all over Japan flocked to the venue. The Snow Festival has since become a major Japanese event.

8.What changes have been made to the event?

1956-7thThe Araiyama Ski Ground was opened as a site only for that year
1965-16thThe Makomanai site was opened as the 2nd site
1983-34thThe Susukino site was opened as the 3rd site
1990-41stThe Nakajima Park site was opened as the 4th site until the 43rd festival
2005-56thThe Makomanai site was closed → moved to the Sato-Land site from 2006
2008-59thThe Sato-Land site was closed
2009-60thThe Tsudome site was opened in place of the Sato-Land site

9.What made the Snow Festival famous?

The 23rd Snow Festival was held in 1972, the year Sapporo hosted the Winter Olympic Games. With the slogan “Welcome to Sapporo”, the Snow Festival became widely acknowledged around the world.

10.When did other countries start to participate?

Since the 25th Snow Festival in 1974, cities and regions around the world having close relationships with Sapporo have come to create snow sculptures. Participation by regions such as Shenyang, Alberta, Munich, Sydney and Portland have contributed to developing the Snow Festival into a multi-cultural event.

11.What is the scale of the current Sapporo Snow Festival?

Approximately 200 snow and ice sculptures are on display at 3 sites. The record for the highest number of sculptures was 366, at the 43rd Snow Festival!

12.For how long is the Snow Festival held?

The Odori site and Susukino site are open for approximately 1 week. The Tsudome site is open for approximately 2 weeks. In addition to viewing the snow and ice sculptures, there are a variety of fun events going on every day.
Welcome to Sapporo ” Sapporo Snow Festival “

13.What is the theme of the Sapporo Snow Festival?

At the 29th festival in 1978, “The World’s Open Stage of Pure-White Dreams” was selected as a unified theme, and it is still in use today.

14.How many people visit the Snow Festival?

The Snow Festival is now a major international event and attracted 2,543,000 people from all over the world to its 69th festival in 2018.

15.How many people are involved in running the Snow Festival?

Approximately 2,000 people are involved, including volunteers helping to manage the event.

16.What can people do to help run the Snow Festival?

The citizens of Sapporo volunteer in many ways, including offering tourist information to visitors, aiding the elderly and handicapped persons, and making announcements for lost children at the sites.
Applications for volunteering are accepted for a one-month period starting in November every year on the Snow Festival’s official website. Non-Japanese volunteers must be able to speak conversation-level Japanese.