The Sapporo Snow Festival (Sapporo Yuki Matsuri) is held during one week every February in Hokkaido's capital Sapporo. In 2011, the Snow Festival will be held from February 7 through February 13, 2011.
The Sapporo Snow Festival was started in 1950, when high school students built a few snow statues in Odori Park. It has since developed into a large, commercialized event, featuring spectacular snow and ice sculptures and attracting more than two million visitors from Japan and across the world.
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The Snow Festival is staged on three sites across Sapporo City: the Odori Site, Susukino Site and Tsudome Site.
The main site is the Odori Site in Sapporo's centrally located 1.5 kilometer long Odori Park. The festival's famous large snow sculptures, some more than 15 meters tall and 25 meters wide, are exhibited there. They are lit up daily until 22:00.
Besides about a dozen large snow sculptures, the Odori Site exhibits more than one hundred smaller snow and ice statues and hosts several concerts and events, many of which use the sculptures as their stage.
A great view over Odori Park can be enjoyed from the Sapporo TV Tower, which stands at the eastern end of the park and is opened from 9:00 to 22:30 during the festival (from 8:30 on the weekend). Admission to the top observatory deck costs 700 Yen per adult.
The Susukino Site, located in and named after Sapporo's largest entertainment district, exhibits about one hundred ice sculptures. Susukino is located only one subway stop south of Odori Park. The ice sculptures are lit up daily until midnight (until 22:00 on the festival's final day).
The less centrally located Tsudome Site is a family oriented site with snow slides, snow rafting, snow golf and more snow sculptures. Inside the dome, there are many food stands and a stage for events. The Tsudome Site replaces the Sato Land Site, which was used in the previous three years.
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