Sapporo Snow Festival Official Website

Sapporo Snow Festival 71 Years of History ~ A world of pure white dreams ~

Sapporo Snow Festival
71 Years of History
~ A world of pure white dreams ~

The magnificent snow and ice sculptures shine of their timeless beauty to the world. Please take a look at the history of 71 years (1950 - 2021).

1st-5th1950 to 1954

The Birth of the Snow Festival

The Sapporo Snow Festival was inspired by the "Snow Handicrafts" held at Kitatemiya Elementary School in Otaru,the ice carnival held at the pond in Nakajima Park, and the "Snow Battle," a flag battle held at Ichinaka Junior High School (now Sapporo Minami High School).
Six snow sculptures were created by students from three high schools and two junior high schools, and popular square dances and dog races were held for the first time.

1950(the 1st)
Venus de Milo
Venus de Milo

Six snow sculptures made by students from three high schools and two junior high schools in the city were displayed in Odori 7-chome Square, which used to be a snow dumping ground for citizens. There was also a square dance, a singing contest, and a dog race on a course specially set up on the sidewalk. *The poster says that the event will be held on Feb. 18 and 19, but in fact, it was only held on the 18th.

On This Day

The population of Sapporo at the time was 313,000.

Snow Festival Venue

Odori

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 18 [1 day] (50,000 visitors)

1951(the 2nd)
Venus with a Bonfire
Venus with a Bonfire

The event was recognized as an annual event by the city. Fuji Girls' School joined in and made five sculptures. Fushimi High School's "Venus with a Bonfire" was a hot topic as the tip of the bonfire lit up at night. On the 27th, a dance was held through the snow sculptures.

On This Day

Japan - U.S. Peace Treaty and Japan - U.S. Security Treaty signed.

Snow Festival Venue

Odori

Period (number of visitors)

Jan. 26 - Jan. 27 [2 days] (number of visitors unknown)

1952(the 3rd)
Karimo holds Hayate
Karimo holds Hayate

The main site was changed to Odori 4-chome in consideration of convenience of transportation. Works from six schools, including Sapporo Minami High School and Koryo Junior High School, was created in Nishi 4-chome.

On This Day

Hokkaido's first commercial broadcaster, HBC, begins broadcasting.

Snow Festival Venue

Odori

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 9 - Feb. 10 [2 days] (number of visitors unknown)

1953(the 4th)
Ascension
Ascension

Fushimi High School's "Ascension," the first of the giant snow sculptures, stands 15 meters tall. A total of 1,000 people participated in making the snow sculptures. Voluntary snow sculptures are being displayed in front of school gates and in schoolyards of elementary schools around the city.

On This Day

The Korean Armistice Agreement signed. Death of Stalin, Prime Minister of the Soviet Union.

Snow Festival Venue

Odori

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 7 - Feb. 8 [2 days] (number of visitors unknown)

1954(the 5th)
"Snow and a Girl" by Sapporo Higashi High School

During the festival, there was a fierce snow storm, and many of the snow sculptures were damaged or buried in heavy snow.

On This Day

The Toya Maru, a Japanese commercial ferry, sank during a severe typhoon. The first Sapporo Summer Festival is held.

Snow Festival Venue

Odori

Period (number of visitors)

Jan. 28 - Jan. 31 [4 days] (number of visitors unknown)

The 6th - 24th1955-1973

Participation of the Self-Defense Forces and Makomanai site

Up to the 5th festival, snow sculptures were made by junior and senior high school students and ordinary citizens, but from the 6th festival, the Japanese Self-Defense Forces participated in making the large snow sculptures.Around this time, a TV station was established in Hokkaido and the Sapporo Snow Festival was introduced to the whole country, gradually attracting more tourists from mainland Japan.In 1959 (the 10th), the Sapporo Snow Festival Executive Committee was established, as the Snow Festival was required to operate as an organization.
The Japanese Self-Defense Forces at Makomanai held a snow sculpture contest, which was renamed the Makomanai Snow Festival, and officially became the second site in 1965 (the 16th), attracting many families.

1955 (the 6th)
Glory
Glory

Japanese Self-Defense Forces participate in snow sculpture making for the first time. The 10-meter high sculpture of Virgin Mary, "Glory," was one of the prominent highlights.

On This Day

Kotoni Town, Sapporo Village, and Shinoro Village merge into Sapporo municipality.

Snow Festival Venue

Odori

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 27 - 28 [2 days] (number of visitors unknown)

1956(the 7th)
Sincerity
Sincerity

The snowball fight is back. Under the music of the Battleship March, 200 members of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces participated in the event, wearing hachi-maki (Japanese headbands) and straw sandals, to the great enthusiasm of the crowd.

On This Day

Soviet - Japanese Fishery Treaty signed.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriAraiyama

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 4 - Feb. 5 [2 days] (number of visitors unknown)

1957 (the 8th)
Great Snow Sculpture of Seven Lucky Gods
Great Snow Sculpture of Seven Lucky Gods

The venue was expanded to include Odori West 3-chome to 6-chome. The snowball fight will be held for the last time this year after an excited spectator fell down due to the thrilling battle between the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and the snowball fighters.

On This Day

Showa Research Station established in Antarctica. Issuance of the 5,000 yen bill.

Snow Festival Venue

Odori

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 2 - Feb. 3 [2 days] (200,000 visitors)

1958 (the 9th)
Snow-White Castle
Snow-White Castle

Helping to liven up the Hokkaido Expo. The venue expands to Odori West 8-chome. Satirical sculptures reflecting the current state of the world begin to stand out.

On This Day

Ropeway to Mount Moiwa.

Snow Festival Venue

Odori

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 7 - Feb. 9 [3 days] (300,000 visitors)

1959(the 10th)
"Gojo Bridge" and "Ushiwakamaru and Benkei" Sculptures

There were 64 snow sculptures, doubling the number of previous years. TV and other mass media introduced the event nationwide. The number of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces' large snow sculptures increased to three. Due to the unprecedented snow shortage, the snow for the sculptures had to be transported from Nakayama Pass by the JSDF.

On This Day

Wedding of Crown Prince Akihito and Princess Michiko. The first Sapporo Lilac Festival is held.

Snow Festival Venue

Odori

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 6 - Feb. 8 [3 days] (550,000 visitors)

1960(the 11th)
Landscape with silo
Landscape with silo

The venue expanded from 3-chome to 9-chome, and the number of snow sculptures increased to 87. The Sapporo Snow Festival became more famous and attracted people from all over Japan.

On This Day

New Japan - U.S. Security Treaty signed.

Snow Festival Venue

Odori

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 5 - Feb. 7 [3 days] (700,000 visitors)

1961(the 12th)
The Monkey King
The Monkey King

Skiers and snow festival groups from the Japanese mainland start to visit. The number of lights and banners increased, adding more glamour to the venue at night. As the snow shortage in the city became more serious, a large amount of snow had to be transported from Nakayama Pass.

On This Day

Toyohira Town merged with Sapporo.

Snow Festival Venue

Odori

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 3 - Feb. 5 [3 days] (800,000 visitors)

1962(the 13th)
Sumo Wrestler Taiho's Ring-Entering Ceremony
Sumo Wrestler Taiho's Ring-Entering Ceremony

Even Yokozuna Taiho could not beat the heat. Sweating snow sculptures. There were two large snow sculptures: one by the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, and the other was a collaboration between the JSDF, Sapporo Technical High School, and Gakugei University.

On This Day

A huge explosion at Tokachi-dake.

Snow Festival Venue

Odori

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 2 - Feb. 4 [3 days] (890,000 visitors)

1963(the 14th)
Gulliver's Travels
Gulliver's Travels

A snow festival was held at the Japanese Self-Defense Forces Makomanai Garrison. This was the beginning of the development of the second venue. A security headquarters was set up at Odori 5-chome to deal with lost and found items. TV stations invited TV personalities and held on-location shoots and shows. The images were broadcasted to TV viewers all over Japan.

On This Day

Assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. The first Sapporo Chrysanthemum Festival was held.

Snow Festival Venue

Odori

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 1 - Feb. 3 [3 days] (1.15 million visitors)

1964(the 15th)
Olympic Stadium
Olympic Stadium

From Tokyo to Sapporo, the Olympic Games are in full swing. This is the year that the Tokyo Olympics was held and the year that the Sapporo City Council decided to host the Winter Olympics.

On This Day

Tokaido Shinkansen begins operations.

Snow Festival Venue

Odori

Period (number of visitors)

Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 [3 days] (1.86 million visitors)

1965 (the 16th)

Makomanai was officially designated as the second venue, and became a place where families and other visitors could touch and play with snow.

On This Day

The Nissho Highway was fully opened. Second Indo-Pakistani War.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanai

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 5 to Feb. 7 [3 days] (2.97 million visitors)

1966 (the 17th)
"Trojan Horse" Reminiscent of Helen of Troy

The exhibition is extended to four days. Odori West-8 and 9-Chome is turned into a citizens' plaza.

On This Day

All Nippon Airways crashed off the coast of Haneda.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanai

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 3 to Feb. 6 [4 days] (3.46 million visitors)

1967 (the 18th)
The world's largest passenger ship, the Towada Maru
The world's largest passenger ship, the Towada Maru

The theme is "Let's make the two major international events, the Sapporo Winter Olympics and the Osaka Expo, a success. With the decision to hold the Winter Olympics in Sapporo, the city will shine brightly in the international community.

On This Day

The First and Second Haneda Struggles.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanai

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 2 to Feb. 5 [4 days] (3.76 million visitors)

1968(the 19th)
Hokkaido Pioneer Office Building
Hokkaido Pioneer Office Building

The Associated Press broadcasted the Sapporo Snow Festival to the world, and an American monthly magazine also ran a feature on the festival.

On This Day

Yasunari Kawabata wins a Nobel Prize. Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanai

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 1 to Feb. 4 [4 days] (3.9 million visitors)

1969(the 20th)
Showboat
Showboat

The theme for the big snow sculpture was decided by the public and nine were selected. There was no snow until mid-January, so snow had to be transported from Iwamizawa.

On This Day

Apollo 11, the first human landed on the moon.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanai

Period (number of visitors)

Jan. 30 to Feb. 2 [4 days] (4.01 million visitors)

1970(the 21st)
Stand on the Moon of Mankind
Stand on the Moon of Mankind

The private sector began providing more cooperation through sponsorships and services for visitors.

On This Day

Red Army Faction Yodo-go Incident. Yukio Mishima commits suicide by Seppuku. Sapporo population exceeds 1 million.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanai

Period (number of visitors)

Jan. 29 to Feb. 1 [4 days] (3.18 million visitors)

1971(the 22nd)
Kaguya Hime's
Kaguya Hime's "Taketori Monogatari"

The atmosphere was in full Olympics swing. At the ceremony, the people chosen as Miss Suzuran performed the fire-starting ceremony in the ancient Olympian style.

On This Day

308 yen to the dollar. The North-South Subway Line opened.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanai

Period (number of visitors)

Jan. 28 to Jan. 31 [4 days] (4.05 million visitors)

1972(the 23rd)
Kintaro holds up the Olympic torch and the Olympic flag.
Kintaro holds up the Olympic torch and the Olympic flag.

Giant snow sculptures also appeared at the Winter Olympics site. The counting method of the number of spectators was changed.

On This Day

Sapporo became an ordinance-designated city. United Red Army Asama-Sanso Incident.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanaiOlympic Site

Period (number of visitors)

Jan. 27 to Jan. 30 [4 days] (1.21 million visitors)

1973(The 24th)
Earth Spider
Earth Spider

The Feb. 1-5 schedule is established. The price of goods at the stalls will also increase due to the rising costs of oil and inflation caused by the oil shock.

On This Day

Oil shock. Vietnam War ceasefire.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanai

Period (number of visitors)

Feb.1 to Feb.5 [5 days] (1,612,000 visitors)

The 25th - 36th 1974-1985

Through the Oil Crisis to the World's Snow Festivals

Due to the oil crisis and the shortage of goods, there was a shortage of light oil for the snow sculptures, as the transportation of snow was also threatened.During this period, in order to reduce the transportation of snow, some large and medium snow sculptures were held upright with oil drums in their cores.The festival also become more global with the start of the International Snow Sculpture Competition.
As a result of overseas promotions since the early 1950's, the number of snow festival tourism groups from overseas increased.In 1983 (the 34th), the "Susukino Ice Festival" was held at the third site.

1974(the 25th)
Mona Lisa and the Arc de Triomphe
Mona Lisa and the Arc de Triomphe

Fuel for snow transportation is in short supply due to the oil crisis. Snow sculptures were made using oil drums as cores. International Snow Sculpture Competition started at 2-chome Square.

On This Day

U.S. President Richard Nixon Resigned. Crazy prices!

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanai

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 1 to Feb. 5 [5 days] (1,739,000 visitors)

1975 (the 26th)
The Man Who Made Flowers Bloom
The Man Who Made Flowers Bloom

A special plaza was set up for tourists to experience making snow sculptures, turning out to be a great success. The citizens' plaza expanded to include 8th to 10th streets. The Snow Queen was elected on the eve of the festival.

On This Day

End of Vietnam War. The Ishikari River floods.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanai

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 1 to Feb. 5 [5 days] (1,813,000 visitors)

1976(the 27th)
American Square
American Square

Many snow sculptures commemorated the bicentennial of the founding of the United States. The U.S. Minister to Japan presented a letter of appreciation to the Commander of the 11th Division of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force.

On This Day

Death of Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong in China. Explosion in the lobby of the Hokkaido Government Office Building. Lieutenant Belenko of the Soviet Union defected in his MiG-25 jet.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanai

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 1 to Feb. 5 [5 days] (1,723,000 visitors)

1977 (the 28th)
Mr. Saigo and Sakurajima
Mr. Saigo and Sakurajima

Sapporo Mode Show held for the first time. Representative fashions and models from eight countries, including Sweden, performed.

On This Day

Eruption of Mount Usu. Japanese Red Army hijacked a Japan Airlines plane in Dhaka.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanai

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 1 to Feb. 6 (6 days) (1,835,000 visitors)

1978(the 29th)
Sydney Town Hall
Sydney Town Hall

From this year, the unified theme is "A World of Pure White Dreams." Due to a serious shortage of snow, it was difficult to build the snow sculptures and forced the venue to become a one-way street.

On This Day

Narita Airport opens. Naoki Uemura travels to the North Pole by dog sled.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanai

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 1 to Feb. 5 [5 days] (1,165,000 visitors)

1979 (the 30th)
Mr. Okamoto joins in the snow sculpture making.
Mr. Okamoto joins in the snow sculpture making.

The world-famous artist Taro Okamoto was commissioned to design a snow sculpture and created a 12-meter high "Snow Goddess" in the West 9-Chome Square.

On This Day

For the first time in 30 years, salmon fry were released into the Toyohira River.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanai

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 1 to Feb. 5 [5 days] (1,872,000 visitors)

1980(the 31st)
Kachikachi-yama (Mt. Clack-Clack)
Kachikachi-yama (Mt. Clack-Clack)

Oil price hike hits snow transportation. A daring way to make snow sculptures while saving on heating. Foreign tourists were also noticeable.

On This Day

Many Western countries did not participate in the Moscow Olympics.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanai

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 1 to Feb. 5 [5 days] (1,847,000 visitors)

1981(the 32nd)
Alberta Legislature Building
Alberta Legislature Building

From this year, the schedule rule is changed to make the last day of the festival land on a Sunday. The Susukino Tourist Association held its first "Susukino Festival".

On This Day

North Coal Yubari New Coal Mine gas blowout accident. The first Sapporo White Illumination was held.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanai

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 4 to Feb. 8 [5 days] (1,877,000 visitors)

1982(The 33rd)
Iolani Palace and King Kamehameha the Great
Iolani Palace and King Kamehameha the Great

The first English pamphlet was produced as a guidebook for foreign tourists.

On This Day

Japan Airlines plane has reverse thrust accident off Haneda.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanai

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 3 to Feb. 7 [5 days] (1,831,000 visitors)

1983(the 34th)
UFO - Messages from Space
UFO - Messages from Space

The Susukino Festival officially becomes the third site of the Snow Festival with its pristine ice sculptures as the main attractions. Chefs from restaurants and hotels, chisels in hand, worked hard to create their ice sculpture masterpieces.

On This Day

Korean Air plane shot down off Sakhalin. Oshin (Japanese morning TV drama) boom.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanaiSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 2 to Feb. 6 [5 days] (1,883,000 visitors)

1984(the 35th)
King Tutankhamun and Lupin III
King Tutankhamun and Lupin III

In commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the sister city relationship between Sapporo and Portland, the "Portland Pioneer Courthouse" was created with the help of international students.

On This Day

The Iran-Iraq War. The Glico Morinaga incident.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanaiSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 1 to Feb. 5 [5 days] (1,756,000 visitors)

1985 (the 36th)
Kinnikuman
Kinnikuman

The city was hit by a typhoon-like W low pressure system. In commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the sister city relationship between Sapporo and Shenyang (China), "Fuling Long En Gate" was created. In a call for ideas for snow sculptures for children, a frilled lizard was the most popular.

On This Day

NTT and Japan Tobacco were established. A Japan Airlines plane crashed in the mountains of Gunma Prefecture.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanaiSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 7 to Feb. 11 [5 days] (1,854,000 visitors)

The 37th - 46th1986-1995

Period extended to 7 days.

The 5-day event was extended to 7 days from 1987 (38th). Since 1990 (41st), the event has been held in addition to the Nakajima site (until 1992/43rd) in order to enhance the citizens' plaza.An international tourism conference was held to coincide with the Snow Festival, and delegations from various countries visited the Snow Festival site, further raising its international profile.

1986(The 37th)
Dutch National Museum
Dutch National Museum

The poster won the Japan Printing Industry Chairman's Award. The horse-drawn sleigh was popular with children at the Makomanai site, but the feature was cancelled the following year after a sleigh overturned during a ride and injuring some people. The finale of the festival is a jenka (a traditional dance) performed by about 400 people.

On This Day

Chernobyl nuclear accident. Mt. Mihara eruption.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanaiSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 5 to Feb. 9 [5 days] (1,904,000 visitors)

1987 (The 38th)
Ultra Family Computer Land
Ultra Family Computer Land

Period extended to 7 days. Travel agents in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, etc. launched a campaign for the Snow Festival. Warm air hit the area during the festival. Some works of the International Snow Sculpture Competition were completely destroyed.

On This Day

Spike tire regulation ordinance in Sapporo. Japan Railway companies inaugurated.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanaiSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 5 to Feb. 11 [7 days] (2,032,000 visitors)

1988 (The 39th)
Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes

365 teams applied for the Civic Plaza. Participation is highly competitive. It is also popular for citizens to participate in the making of the large and medium snow sculptures.

On This Day

The Seikan Tunnel begins operation. The Toho Subway Line opens.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanaiSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 5 to Feb. 11 [7 days] (2,054,000 visitors)

1989 (the 40th)
Portland City Hall
Portland City Hall

The Makomanai site opened at night to celebrate the 40th anniversary. The mercury lamp lights basked the large snow sculptures, like the Notre Dame Cathedral, look magical. Commemorative pins are available.

On This Day

Fall of the Berlin Wall. Consumption tax starts.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanaiSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 6 to Feb. 12 [7 days] (1,964,000 visitors)

1990 (The 41st)
Gulliver's Travels
Gulliver's Travels

Nakajima Park became the fourth site for citizens to casually participate in the festival. The Makomanai venue was opened to the public one day before the exhibition.

On This Day

The first National Center Test for University Admissions. Unzen Fugendake eruption.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanaiSusukinoNakajima Park

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 6 to Feb. 12 [7 days] (2,112,000 visitors)

1991 (The 42nd)
Sagrada Família and National Art Museum of Catalonia in Spain
Sagrada Família and National Art Museum of Catalonia in Spain

The lighting ceremony for the Sapporo Universiade Winter Games was held in front of the snow sculptures. A record 362 snow sculptures was displayed at the four venues.

On This Day

Outbreak of the Gulf War. Mount Unzen Fugen erupts, causing a pyroclastic flow.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanaiSusukinoNakajima Park

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 5 to Feb. 11 [7 days] (2,357,000 visitors)

1992(the 43rd)
The White House
The White House

The Asia Pacific Tourism Summit was held just before the event, spreading the name of Sapporo and the Snow Festival to the world.

On This Day

President Clinton of the United States is elected.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanaiSusukinoNakajima Park

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 5 to Feb. 11 [7 days] (2,271,000 visitors)

1993 (the 44th)
Porco Rosso
Porco Rosso

Nakajima Park site discontinued. Addition of a Citizens' Plaza at Nishi 12-Chome.

On This Day

Inauguration of the 12-nation EC single market. Wedding of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako. Earthquake off the southwest coast of Hokkaido.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanaiSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 5 to Feb. 11 [7 days] (2,047,000 visitors)

1994(The 45th)
Dinosaur Wonderland
Dinosaur Wonderland

20 teams participated in the international snow sculpture competition. The lottery ratio for the Citizens' Plaza is 4.6 times.

On This Day

Matsumoto sarin gas attack incident.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanaiSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 5 to Feb. 11 [7 days] (1,953,000 visitors)

1995 (the 46th)
Dogo Hot Springs Main Building
Dogo Hot Springs Main Building

Collecting donations for the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. Dancers from the YOSAKOI Soran Festival appear on the stage of the big snow sculpture.

On This Day

The Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. The sarin gas attack on the subway.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanaiSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 6 to Feb. 12 [7 days] (1,912,000 visitors)

The 47th - 55th1996-2004

Utilizing the Internet

A "Virtual Snow Festival" was held, where snow sculptures were created at the venue based on ideas for snow sculpture themes by netizens.This was around the time when organizers started sending out information about the Snow Festival over the Internet.In the 50th edition, the Tokyo Metro Shinjuku Line was filled with posters of the Snow Festival, and a "Subway Jacking PR Operation" was held.
In addition, with the reorganization of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force, the number of large snow sculptures produced by the JSDF was reduced from 3 to 2.However, the skills and processes that the JSDF had cultivated over the years in creating such grand works of art were passed on to the newly formed large snow sculpture production team. 

1996(the 47th)
Salzburg Cathedral
Salzburg Cathedral

This year, the organizers started to send out information over the Internet. We invited elementary, junior high, and high school students from around Japan and abroad to submit their ideas for snow sculptures of citizens.

On This Day

Hostage crisis at the Japanese Embassy in Peru. Toyohama tunnel accident.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanaiSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 6 to Feb. 12 [7 days] (2,044,000 visitors)

1997 (the 48th)
National Museum
National Museum

The Virtual Snow Festival, where children share their ideas on the Internet, was in full swing. More than 200 entries were received from 20 students from 13 schools in and outside of Hokkaido, and the detailed designs were decided by e-mail.

On This Day

The Hokkaido Takushoku Bank collapsed. Accidental death of former British Princess Diana. The first-generation Prius was launched.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanaiSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 5 to Feb. 11 [7 days] (2,174,000 visitors)

1998(the 49th)
The making process for the International Snow Sculpture Competition.
The making process for the International Snow Sculpture Competition.

Snow sculptures of the Nagano Winter Olympics and the World Cup are lined up. Tourists from Taiwan flocked to enjoy the festival.

On This Day

Bankruptcy of major banks one after another. Nagano Winter Olympics.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanaiSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 5 to Feb. 11 [7 days] (2,007,000 visitors)

1999(The 50th)

The Sapporo Snow Sculpture Production Committee was established in preparation for the reduced cooperation of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force. A mammoth parent and young were created at Odori Nishi 4-Chome.

On This Day

Japanese kids song ”Dango Sankyodai” hit 2.9 million copies. i-Mode service started.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanaiSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 5 to Feb. 11 [7 days] (2,021,000 visitors)

2000(The 51st)
Shurijo Castle Shoureimon
Shurijo Castle Shoureimon

The number of applications for citizen volunteers exceeded the capacity. Volunteers guided visitors and helped lost children.

On This Day

Ichiro Suzuki enters the Major Leagues.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanaiSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 7 to Feb. 13 [7 days] (2,168,000 visitors)

2001 (The 52nd)

A CD of the image song "In Your Heart" was created. The first fireworks display in two years at the Makomanai site. A wedding ceremony was held in the snow at the International Plaza.

On This Day

The terrorist attacks in the United States.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanaiSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 6 to Feb. 12 [7 days] (2,344,000 visitors)

2002(the 53rd)
Slide at Makomanai site.
Slide at Makomanai site.

NPOs and citizen volunteers formed the Sapporo City Snow Sculpture Making Team. The group begins work on a large snow sculpture at the Odori site. In response to the simultaneous terrorist attacks, the Makomanai site implements a baggage check.

On This Day

The FIFA World Cup in Japan and Korea is held.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanaiSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 5 - Feb. 11 [7 days] (2,997,000 visitors)

2003(the 54th)
Biting the entire Hokkaido.
Biting the entire Hokkaido.

In commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Japan-China Peace and Friendship Treaty, a Chinese TV station puts together a project for a major special program focusing on the Sapporo Snow Festival. Money left by tourists accumulates in front of the snow sculpture of the Great Buddha Nirvana, surprising the officials.

On This Day

President Saddam Hussein is detained.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanaiSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 5 to Feb. 11 [7 days] (2,367,000 visitors)

2004(The 55th)
India, the Land of Enchantment - Taj Mahal
India, the Land of Enchantment - Taj Mahal

During this period, the call center started providing inquiry services in English. At the Makomanai site, metal detectors was introduced as a precaution against terrorism.

On This Day

The Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force was dispatched to Iraq.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanaiSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 5 to Feb. 11 [7 days] (2,179,000 visitors)

The 56th - The 69th2005-2018

From the Makomanai site to the Satorando and Tsudome sites

In 2005 (the 56th edition), the Makomanai site put an end to its 40-year history, and the following year, a new site, "Satorando," was opened as the second site.Later, in 2009 (the 60th), the second site was changed from "Satorando" to "Tsudome" in order to avoid traffic congestion.

Moving toward a New Visual Expression.

Projection mapping, which uses the large snow sculpture at the Odori site as a screen to project images on, was introduced and well received.Also, in 2016 (67th), the duration of the event was increased from 7 days to 14 days, but from 2017 (68th), it was changed to 12 days.In 2019, the Sapporo Snow Festival celebrates its 70th anniversary.

2005(The 56th)
The Norwegian Parliament building
The Norwegian Parliament building

The end of the 40-year history of the Makomanai site.

On This Day

The Kyoto Protocol comes into effect. Hayabusa lands on the asteroid Itokawa.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriMakomanaiSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 7 to Feb. 13 [7 days] (2,911,000 visitors)

2006(The 57th)
Satorando Site and Snow Maze.
Satorando Site and Snow Maze.

The second site was changed from Makomanai to Satorando. Long line up for the slide.

On This Day

Shizuka Arakawa won gold at the Torino Olympics.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriSatolandSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 6 to Feb. 12 [7 days] (1,985,000 visitors)

2007(the 58th)
National Treasure Hikone Castle © Hokkaido Television Broadcasting
National Treasure Hikone Castle © Hokkaido Television Broadcasting

Snow transportation from mountainous areas such as Nakayama Pass and Hoheikyo Dam due to low snowfall within the city. A mobile website was created and started providing information such as waiting times. A large tent was set up at 6-Chome and a "Hokkaido Food Plaza" was opened.

On This Day

Postal privatization. Financial collapse of Yubari City. iPhone launches.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriSatolandSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 6 to Feb. 12 [7 days] (2,001,000 visitors)

2008(The 59th)
Shiretoko Forest and Friends © Hokkaido Shimbun Press
Shiretoko Forest and Friends © Hokkaido Shimbun Press

Low snowfall and high oil prices put a strain on transportation costs. 3,550 parking spaces were set up at the Satoland site. A three-hour long line for the popular slide at the Satoland site.

On This Day

Lehman shock. G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit held. The first Sapporo Autumn Fest held.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriSatolandSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 5 to Feb. 11 [7 days] (2,159,000 visitors)

2009(The 60th)
Hamamatsu Castle © Hokkaido Television Broadcasting
Hamamatsu Castle © Hokkaido Television Broadcasting

The second site was changed to Tsudome. Started selling goods online. "Sapporo Snow Festival Anniversary Festa" in Sapporo Dome is held as a commemorative event, while the "Candle Night" festivities were held at the Odori site.

On This Day

Change of government to the Democratic Party of Japan.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriTsudomeSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 5 - Feb. 11 [7 days] (2,080,000 visitors)

2010 (The 61st)
Slide at the Tsudome site.
Slide at the Tsudome site.

Virtual singer "Hatsune Miku" cheers. Thailand wins the International Snow Sculpture Competition for the third year in a row.

On This Day

Return of the Hayabusa spacecraft.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriTsudomeSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 5 - Feb. 11 [7 days] (2,433,000 visitors)

2011 (The 62nd)
Temple of Heaven (China) © HBC Hokkaido Broadcasting Co.
Temple of Heaven (China) © HBC Hokkaido Broadcasting Co.

Tourists from China and Taiwan are coming one after another during the Chinese New Year. After the Snow Festival, the snow from the sculptures were used at "Odori Park Waku Waku Winterland", where visitors could enjoy skiing and tube slides.

On This Day

The Great East Japan Earthquake occurred.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriTsudomeSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 7 to Feb. 13 [7 days] (2,416,000 visitors)

2012(The 63rd)
Tsuruga Castle, Aizu © HTB
Tsuruga Castle, Aizu © HTB

The competition rate was the highest ever. However, some snow sculptures collapsed due to warm weather. Since then, the snow sculpture management system was reviewed and safety measures were thoroughly implemented. Many snow sculptures and events were held to pray for the recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake.

On This Day

Tokyo Sky Tree opens.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriTsudomeSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 6 to Feb. 12 [7 days] (2,054,000 visitors)

2013(the 64th)
Hoheikan (building)
Hoheikan (building)

Projection mapping was carried out for the first time using the snow sculpture of Hoheikan building as a screen. The event was cancelled in the middle of the exhibition period for safety reasons due to a larger-than-expected crowd.

On This Day

Mt. Fuji is designated as a World Heritage Site. Decided to hold the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriTsudomeSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 5 - Feb. 11 [7 days] (2,367,000 visitors)

2014(the 65th)
Tomb Itimad-Ud-Daulah (India) © HTB
Tomb Itimad-Ud-Daulah (India) © HTB

84 citizen snow sculptures. The lottery ratio was 8.9 times. Priority was given to securing aisles to avoid congestion.

On This Day

”Pepper” was introduced by SoftBank. Masahiro Tanaka joins the New York Yankees.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriTsudomeSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 5 - Feb. 11 [7 days] (2,402,000 visitors)

2015(the 66th)
Tsudome site.
Tsudome site.

The Susukino site was renamed "Susukino Ice World 2015" to familiarize with foreigners. U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, visited Odori 8-Chome. The number of large snow sculptures made by the Japanese Self-Defense Forces was reduced from 3 to 2.

On This Day

Diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba are restored.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriTsudomeSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 5 - Feb. 11 [7 days] (2,350,000 visitors)

2016 (the 67th)
March 26, 2016 Hokkaido Shinkansen opens! © HTB
March 26, 2016 Hokkaido Shinkansen opens! © HTB

A full-sized Shinkansen train appears as a snow sculpture. The amount of snowfall was half of a normal year. Snow had to be brought in to the city from Iwamizawa due to lack of snow. Tsudome extended for one week.

On This Day

Hokkaido Shinkansen opens.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriTsudomeSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 5 - Feb. 18 [14 days] (2,609,000 visitors)  Odori 5th - 11th [7 days]  Tsudome 5th - 18th [14 days]

2017 (the 68th)
Taipei Guest House © Mainichi Newspapers
Taipei Guest House © Mainichi Newspapers

Tsudome site one week ahead of schedule. Using the latest projection technologies, the snow sculptures were on display with full lights and sound. 774 applications were received for 77 snow sculptures by citizens.

On This Day

Inauguration of President Trump of the United States.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriTsudomeSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 1 - 12 [12 days] (2,643,000 visitors)  Odori 6th - 12th [7 days]  Tsudome 1st - 12th [12 days]

2018 (the 69th)
Large snow sculpture of Stockholm Cathedral, Sweden © HBC Hokkaido Broadcasting Co.
Large snow sculpture of Stockholm Cathedral, Sweden © HBC Hokkaido Broadcasting Co.

QR payment service for Chinese tourists are introduced in some stores.

On This Day

Magnitude 7 earthquake hits Iburi, power loss around Hokkaido.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriTsudomeSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Feb. 1 - 12 [12 days] (2,543,000 visitors)  Odori 5th-12th [8 days]  Tsudome 1st-12th [12 days]

2019(the 70th)
2019 Sapporo Snow Festival, Helsinki Cathedral, large snow sculpture © HBC Hokkaido Broadcasting.
2019 Sapporo Snow Festival, Helsinki Cathedral, large snow sculpture © HBC Hokkaido Broadcasting.

As a project to commemorate the 70th anniversary, a new type of snow festival was held, combining digital technology. There was also a project to support the Eastern Japan Earthquake, as well as a snow sculpture of Hoteisama (God of Cleverness) that recreates the origin of the snow festival.

On This Day

The Heisei era closes.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriTsudomeSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Jan. 31 - Feb. 11 [12 days] (2,737,000 visitors)  Odori Feb. 4-11 [8 days]  Tsudome Jan 31 - Feb 11 [12 days]

2020 (the 71st)
Royal Palace and Chopin sculpture in Lazienki Park
              HBC Poland Square
Royal Palace and Chopin sculpture in Lazienki Park
HBC Poland Square ⒸHokkaido Broadcasting 2020

Due to the record shortage of snow, snow had to be brought in to the city from the foot of Mt. Yotei and the Sorachi region.
Introduced cloud translation equipment and web service chatbots in the venue.
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On This Day

The new era begins in 2024.
Consumption tax raised to 10%.

Snow Festival Venue

OdoriTsudomeSusukino

Period (number of visitors)

Jan. 31, 2020 - Feb. 11, 2020 (12 days)
(2,021,000 visitors)
Odori: Feb. 4 - Feb. 11, 2020 (8 days)
Tsudome, Jan. 31 - Feb. 11, 2020 (12 days)

2021

Due to the impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the event was unfortunately not held at a venue.
The festivities were moved to an online format, aptly named the "Online Sapporo Snow Festival 2021 - A Fair Created by Everyone".
Online Sapporo Snow Festival 2021 special site.

On This Day

Global outbreak of the coronavirus

Snow Festival Venue

Online event

Period (number of visitors)

February 4-28, 2021 (25 days)
*Partially open to the public from January 19, 2021

Number of views
770,778PV (January 19 - February 28)

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