Festival Sites and Snow Sculptures
The Sapporo Snow Festival, one of Japan's largest winter events, attracts a growing number of visitors from Japan and abroad every year.
Every winter, about two million people come to Sapporo to see the hundreds of beautiful snow statues and ice sculptures which line Odori Park,the grounds at the Self-Defense Force base in Makomanai, and the main street in Susukino.
For seven days in February,these statues and sculptures(both large and small) turn Sapporo into a winter dreamland of crystal-like ice and white snow.
The Snow Festival began in 1950, when local high school students built six snow statues in Odori Park. in 1955, the Self-Defense Force joined in and built the very first massive snow sculpture, for which the Snow Festival has become famous for now. The Festival has grown from these humble beginnings to become one of the biggest and most well known of Hokkaido's winter events.
The Snow Festival is considered to be a festival of international-caliber.
Odori Park stretches from east to west through the center of downtown Sapporo and represents the main festival site.here,you can see a variety of snow and ice sculptures, many of which have an international flavor. There are other snow stages located here and featuring a varientyof entertainment.
The lungs of Sapporo are provided by Odori Park, just over a kilometre long and 65 metres wide, in the centre of the city. In summer it is the place where people go to relax and enjoy an ice cream or a beer while watching children playing near the fountains. In winter it is the site of Sapporo's world-famous Snow Festival.
Just outside Sapporo you can visit the Hokkaido Historical Village, where about 60 old buildings from around the island stand as they did in the pioneering years of the 19th century. You can see Sapporo's first railway station, and the newspaper building from the seaside town of Otaru. Depending on the season, visitors can travel through the village on horse-drawn carriages or sleighs.
If you like beer and/or history, then the Sappory factory tour is a must. The tour is interesting and, more importantly, free. It also ends with free beer and snacks at the end -- all you can drink in a 30 minute period!
Tanuki Koji shopping arcade. It is seven blocks of everything and anything you can think of! Recycled clothes, movie theatre, internet/comic book arcade. I even saw a Wicca school! The two blocks on either side of the arcade are filled with boutiques.
Dried fish outside the Ainu hut (can't recall what they call their house, sorry...).
The Ainu house made of reed has an entrance in the west, 3 windows in the east & the south. It has only one room disposed a hearth in the center, being partitioned with a grass mat at need.
The Ainu culture developed around 8th & 14th centuries. Its distinctive feature is it's powerful relationship with nature in that the Ainu's dependence on it entirely for food, clothing & building materials. Hunted animals were often revered as kamui (gods) & killing them for food involved rituals.
The Ainu Museum is the very museum which comprises all the materials of the Ainu cultural property, such as daily utensils, hunting implements & clothes. The exhibits also show a number of materials involved in the holding of cermony, fishing & weaving of cloth.
Head for SHIRAOI (about 30 mins train ride from Noboribetsu): A reconstructed AINU VILLAGE with the Ainu people demonstrating traditional art & crafts.
Long ago, there used to live the Ainu who were fishing & hunting people in all over Hokkaido & then Shiraoi was one of the largest Ainu villages.
This Ainu village was rebuilt in 1965 & the Ainu Museum in 1984 in order to work on preservation & research in the Ainu culture & to transmit the precious cultural property of the Ainu to the next generation.
See how the Ainu tribe live & learn their crafts & the climate they are subjected to.
Sapporo Factory is a leisure center of shopping, dining and other activities under the largest glass-roofed atrium in Japan. Sapporo Beer Garden & Museum is a stately red-brick 19th century building. The all-you-can-eat-and-drink menu originated here, featuring Genghis Khan as the specialty. The adjoining museum displays historically important materials concerning the beer brewing techniques introduced in 1876 by the Colonization Commission.
North & East Station Areas
North of JR Sapporo Station, the main rail terminal, is Hokkaido University, whose large campus matches its historical and academic reputation. Established as Sapporo Agricultural College in 1876, its notable sights include the Poplar Promenade and the Faculty of Agriculture's Farm No. 2, a National Important Cultural Property. A bust of founder William S. Clark stands at the south end.
Between Mt. Moiwa and Maruyama Park, Asahiyama Memorial Park also provides a view of the city, space for picnicking and hiking, and a fountain and flower gardens. Skiing enthusiasts may recognize Okurayama Jump Hill as a site of the 1972 Sapporo Winter Olympics. This jump hill has produced many noted jumpers and dramatic moments (under renovation). Miyanomori Jump Hill was used for the 70-m (normal hill) jump competition of the Sapporo Olympics.
Southwest of downtown, the city becomes hilly and then mountainous. Maruyama Park is a favorite for May 'hanami' (cherry blossom viewing) parties and walks through virgin forest and along streams. Also in the park are Maruyama Zoo, popular with young children, and Hokkaido Shrine, where more than 800,000 come during New Year's to offer prayers. South of the park, Mt. Moiwa affords an outstanding panorama of the city and the Ishikari Plain from 531 meters above sea level. Visitors can get to the top by car or gondola.
Other sites include the Nijo Ichiba market of fresh seafood and vegetables, and the Botanical Gardens of Hokkaido University's Faculty of Agriculture, the first modern facility of its kind in Japan. The gardens include a virgin forest, a museum displaying materials on colonization and other archaeological relics, an Ainu museum and a greenhouse with tropical plants. The Sapporo City Document Museum was built in 1926 as the Sapporo Court of Appeals and now exhibits items of Sapporo literati and archaeological treasures. The Hiroshi Ohba Memorial Room exhibits works of this artist from Sapporo.
The Old City Hall is an European-style building that now works as a museum.
There's a good depiction of the history of the city, and the entrance is free.
But, to tell the truth, I went inside just to take shelter from the snow storm!