MULTI-STORY sculptures created from thousands of cubic metres of snow and an equally impressive number of man-hours.
THERE are several large annual snow festivals in Hokkaido in early February, thanks to the consistent sub-zero temperatures and high annual snowfalls. The biggest of which is undoubtedly Sapporo’s Snow Festival, with dozens of sculptures spread across several city blocks.
But biggest doesn’t have to equal best. Asahikawa has a similar snow/ice festival, though somewhat smaller and minus the crowds. Sounkyo near Asahidake has a giant ice festival with huge illuminated caves, spires and other structures made from ice. Lake Shikotsu has something similar, though on a slightly smaller scale. Otaru’s Snow Light Path, with thousands of candles illuminating ice lanterns, as well as lots of small cute sculptures is a favourite and makes for a very nice (slightly early) Valentine’s Day excursion.