Friday, February 5, 2016

The opening of the Sapporo Snow Festival 2016 in Hokkaido. And the launch of the new bullet train shinkansen service between Tokyo and Sapporo.

About to attend the opening ceremonies for the
67th Sapporo Snow Festival this morning,
living a #Travelife...

Today in Sapporo, living a #Travelife, I was at the city's Odori Park excited, bright and early to attend the opening ceremonies for the 67th Sapporo Snow Festival.

The Sapporo Snow Festival has become such a famous event that it attracts over two million visitors from all over Japan and the world. Did you know that this festival began 67 years ago with only five ice sculptures created by city residents?


The opening ceremonies for
the 67th Sapporo Snow Festival today
Today the Sapporo Snow Festival has over 200 sculptures. There was snow everywhere on the ground, of course, and temperatures were way below freezing.

It was also snowing for part of the morning, although the sun came out eventually, making for a pretty fine day by Hokkaido weather standards.

Nevertheless, I didn't feel cold at all with so many interesting things to see and to taste for the entire length of Odori Park. With all the colourful booths of foods and crafts, it felt like a Christmas market in Europe, but with giant ice sculptures everywhere.

There are about 200 ice sculptures displayed in three main places around Sapporo City, but the main display for the Sapporo Snow Festival is in Odori Park, with its giant ice sculptures made by the Japanese Self Defense Forces.

In an area called Susukino in Sapporo, there is also an entire street lined with ice sculptures, but these were made by different local companies partly as an art display and partly as promotions for their companies.

Sapporo Beer had an ice sculpture stacked with beer, for instance, while the nationwide sushi shop Sushizanmai had an ice sculpture of a wall with fish frozen into it.


There was an amazing sculpture of the new bullet train that will be launched between Tokyo and Sapporo this March 26, 2016, as well as a gigantic sculpture incorporating the Sapporo Clock Tower and the former Sapporo Government Building, two of the city's iconic landmarks.

In the evenings for the rest of this week, there will be light and sound shows around these ice sculptures.

If you're visiting the Sapporo Snow Festival, I suggest you bring your warmest clothes because the temperatures are bearable but it's the windchill factor that will suddenly bring the temperatures down, and this can strike anytime. Boots that are good for walking in the snow are advisable, too, as the ice on the roads might be slippery. And don't forget your ear muffs and gloves.


Malaysia Tourism also had an impressive display as well as a very warm building to promote tourism to Malaysia.

I sure was happy to enter this warm place for a few minutes and see the posters of all my favourite places in Malaysia on the walls.

Scroll down to read more about the Sapporo Snow Festival 2016...


We also got to try lots of good food even if it was only 10 AM and we were headed out for a big steak lunch afterwards at Hama Steak House.

I just couldn't resist having grilled scallops and oysters because we were in Hokkaido and it was winter. The scallops were juicy, and the man selling these even gave me a big bowl of scallops soup as a present.

Then we also had freshly shucked oysters that were lightly grilled and served plain, no lemon or sauce. That's how good these were, that they could be served without seasoning.

I usually prefer small oysters as these tend to be tastier. But this morning at the Sapporo Snow Festival, the oysters were large and really tasty. I think I had four of these.

So there I was today on a freezing morning in Sapporo, as always combining work with pleasure, cold but full, and ever so happily living a never-ending, and never-endingly delicious #Travelife.

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