By Keira Louis
Our last 4 days in Japan were dedicated to Sapporo and the famous Yuki Matsuri (snow festival).
We based ourselves in a quaint little backpackers called ‘Ino’s Place’ and from here we took the train to Odori, the main site of the festival. Huge snow sculptures line the street and hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to see this spectacle each year. And it’s obvious why.
Whether it be a disney scene, a cartoon character, a temple or shrine, the effort that has gone into each and every sculpture is astounding. Some sculptures stood as big as houses, supported by structural frames beneath the snow.Others were the size of extra large snowmen in different shapes with superb detail. It was truly a spectacular sight.
Also offering a street full of ice sculptures was the nearby town of Suskino. These were almost more impressive than those at Odori due to the absence of any structural support at all and the intricately detailed carving in each sculpture. It was all so fascinating.
But walking around on ice and snow all day really did take its toll and as a result, frequent coffee and snack stops were in order. Our favourite coffee stop? Starbucks, actually. I know, I know, not very Japanese at all, but with the amount of Starbucks in Sapporo, you’d think it was a Japanese franchise!
Although the snow festival was the major attraction of Sapporo, we also discovered our new favourite Japanese beer, Sapporo Beer; the Sapporo Beer Garden, which is housed in a beautiful old building just outside of central Sapporo; and most importantly, the art of Karaoke! It’s amazing how much fun can be had in a tiny little room with a TV and music, 2 microphones and stash of beers!