Sapporo Snow Festival
The Sapporo Snow Festival, one of Japan’s largest winter events, finished just yesterday after a week of dazzling snow and ice sculptures and millions of visitors.
The tradition began back in the 1950’s when local high-school students built six snow statues in Odori Park. By 1955 the Japanese Self-Defence Force had joined in to build the first ever gigantic snow sculpture. The Force is still among those recruited to construct the hallmark huge snow sculptures which tower above Sapporo’s main street in Susukino (pictured below).
Though the Sapporo Festival is largely famous for its spectacular visual displays, of incredibly large and hauntingly delicate buildings and statues sculpted from snow, it also has many interactive activities available. The Tsudome area has huge snow slides and ‘snowrafting’ facilities, to satisfy the more tactile visitors. It may be lots of fun to be there, but its not quite as stunning to look at as hand-crafted snow scenes like the one pictured below:
Thailand’s master ice craftsmen won Sapporo’s 2013 international ice sculpture competition, making this their third consecutive year as ‘grand master’.
The winning sculpture depicts four elephants, each painting delicately with a paintbrush gripped in their trunk. Elephants are not only the national animal of Thailand; they are honoured as members of mahouts’ family. The sculpture emphasised the incredible dexterity and artistic skill of Thai elephants, despite their size and strength.
The Sapporo fesitval is an internationally acclaimed annual event, with original and creative sculptures and performances each year.
Incredible Video of the 2013 Sapporo Snow Festival: