How to walk around the Sapporo Snow Festival

Do you know about the Sapporo Snow Festival? It is an annual festival which is held in February in Sapporo, which is located in the center of Hokkaido and has a lot of snow in winter. Today, I’ll introduce this festival and how to enjoy it. 

The Snow Festival is normally held in early February. There are 3 venues: Odori, Susukino and Tsudome in the city. You can see many big and small snow sculptures and ice sculptures as well as enjoying playing in the snow. 


First of all, let me show you the history of the Sapporo Snow Festival. The Sapporo Snow Festival was started by junior high and high school students who made 6 snow sculptures in 1950. The audience back then was more than 50,000 people, and it was more than expected. 

In 1955, self-defense forces joined to make big snow sculptures. After that, the Winter Olympics were held in 1972 in Sapporo, so the Snow Festival was known all over the world. 

And now, it is currently a big event which more than 2 million people visit all over Japan and the world.

You can see photos and miniatures of the past Snow Festival in The Sapporo Snow Festival Museum.


3 venues each have their own feature. I’d like to show you how to enjoy each venue.

Odori Venue

Odori Venue is the main venue of the Snow Festival. “Odori (大通)” means “main street” in Japanese, and literally it is a big park which is located in the center of the city and has expanded to 13 streets. The Snow Festival is held in most of the park. 

There are several big snow sculptures created by the self-defense forces and many small snow sculptures created by citizens. The big snow sculptures are as big as the real buildings, and they are impressive and spectacular. On the flip side, small sculptures by citizens are very unique and humorous, but they are just as detailed as the big ones. 

The self-defense forces are making a big snow sculpture.
The small snow sculptures made by citizens

The recent most popular feature in Odori venue is projection mapping. The video is shown projected onto the snow sculpture. It is beautiful and impressive. The show takes about 5 minutes. If you want to watch it, it is better to check the time and the place on the official website ( before visiting. 

Projection mapping video appeared on the snow sculpture.

Other than that, the international snow sculpture contest is held in this venue. It is a competition by international groups from all over the world. If you had a chance, you would come across them making snow sculptures.

Foreign people are making snow sculptures for the contest.

Susukino Venue

If you love drinking or want to enjoy night time, I recommend the Susukino venue. Susukino is located in the next station to Odori in Namboku Line of the subway, and is known for the biggest night entertainment area in northern Japan. There are tons of izakaya and bars in this area. 

You can see many ice sculptures along the main street in the Susukino Venue. It is the most beautiful when lighting up, so I recommend seeing them at night. The ice sculpture contest is held in this venue, too. You may be able to come across them making ice sculptures here. Why not enjoy the night Susukino with ice sculptures?

Tsudome Venue

If you have a little child and want to enjoy the Snow Festival with them, I recommend the Tsudome venue. There are many spaces where you can enjoy the snow activities with little kids. The most popular one is the tube slider. It is to slide the snow slope riding on a big tube. 

The most popular activity in the Tusdome venue: tube slider

Other than that, there are many attractions which kids can enjoy, such as a snow maze, hitting the target with snowballs, and riding on snow scooter, etc. 

There are many activities for kids in the Tsudome venue.

If you get cold, you can take a rest inside the dome. There are food stands serving Hokkaido specialties like ramen and Genghis Khan (grilled lamb meat), tables and chairs to rest, and also a playing area for kids. So you can enjoy inside the dome as well. 

 Inside the Tsudome: Playing area for kids and food stands

Tsudome is located in a suburb in Sapporo, but you can go there by subway. You get off at Sakaemachi Station in the Toho Line of the subway and take about 15 minutes on foot or get on a shuttle bus only during the Snow Festival.

By the way, do you know the meaning of Tsudome? It is a creating word of “tsudou (集う)” in Japanese (it means “to gather”) and “dome.”

What to prepare 

 Lastly, I’ll show you some tips to enjoy the Snow Festival. 

First, you should bundle up in warm clothes. The temperature in February in Sapporo is around 0 to -7 degree Celsius. You will walk outside for a long time, so make sure to wear warm clothes as well as gloves and a hat. However, once you enter buildings, they are well heated inside, so clothes to put on and take off easily are better. 

Secondly, if you have your shoes for winter, it’s better to put them on. If not, you should buy and put on cleats, “suberi-dome” in Japanese, which are sold in official shops in the venues, convenience stores, and station stands. The venues are slippy because many people walk around there.

And if you are planning to walk around multiple venues a day, it would be better to buy a one-day free subway ticket. It costs 830 yen for adults on the weekday, and 520 yen on the weekend and on national holidays. The ticket for kids is half of one for adults (as of March 2024).

Sapporo Subway Line map

Now, we’re set to go. Let’s go to enjoy the great Sapporo Snow Festival.

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