Sapporo's famous Snow Festival

About Sapporo

Sapporo, its name meaning “important river flowing through a plain” in the Ainu language, is the capital of the northern island of Hokkaido. It is home to 1.9 million people and is Japan’s fifth-largest city.

Sapporo is known by some due to hosting the Sapporo Olympic Winter Games in 1972. However, it has become a place to visit because of the Sapporo Snow Festival, which has boomed in popularity recently. Held every year in February, tourists come to see illuminated ice sculptures from around the world across the city.

Being a new city, especially by Japanese standards, it has little in the way of traditional architecture and institutions of cities such as Kyoto. This makes navigating its streets very easy with its grid system and named streets.

However, what it lacks in traditional “Japanese-ness” it makes up for with its lovely open, tree-filled boulevards. These boulevards are perfect to enjoy in summer and excellent snow (and facilities to cope with said snow) in the long winter.

For food lovers, we recommend that visitors go to Susukino – Sapporo’s entertainment district. You can try delicious Sapporo ramen at Ramen Yokocho, a small street lined with ramen stores. After, visitors can soak up the area’s atmosphere and enjoy the night with other partygoers with some Sapporo Beer.

  • Great powder snow for skiing and snowboarding
  • Historic Village and its open-air museum
  • Mount Moiwa, offering a beautiful view of Sapporo
  • Okurayama, the former Olympic ski-jump stadium
  • Odori Park
  • Susukino entertainment district
  • Clock Tower, the symbol of Sapporo
  • All about chocolate in Shiroi Koibito Park


In the beginning of the Meiji Period, when the development of Hokkaido was started on a large scale, Sapporo was chosen as the island’s administrative centre and enlarged according to the advice of foreign specialists. Consequently, Sapporo was built based on a North American style rectangular street system.
Sapporo became world famous in 1972 when the Olympic Winter Games were held there. Today, the city is well known for its ramen, beer, and the annual snow festival held in February.

During the Snow Festival, the streets are filled with ice sculptures created by artists from around the world. The sculptures are illuminated at night – a fantastic sight.
The city is also home to the Sapporo Brewery and the famous white chocolate biscuits “White Lovers” exclusively sold in Hokkaido.
In the entertainment district of Susukino are lively clubs and discos – some of the best nightlife in Japan.


In winter, the mountains around the city are a resort paradise, offering Japan’s best snow, with a well-developed ski lift system. For some of the best powder snow in the world, go to Niseko, a couple of hours from Sapporo.

On this northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, over 15 feet of snowfalls in the season. So there is fresh powder snow almost daily. And many hotels offer ski-in-ski-out facilities directly from the hotel reception.

In summer, the natural surroundings of the many national parks are inviting areas for day trips or long mountain walks. Hokkaido is a volcanic island, and there are plenty of hot springs and attractive spa locations in the mountains. At many hot spring hotels and resorts (onsen) you can soak in the hot spring waters in the open air.

Practical information:

  • From Tokyo Haneda to New Chitose Airport (890km)(1h45)
  • It is possible to travel to Sapporo by train, but domestic air is recommended

Sapporo on our Google map

Our packages including Sapporo


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