"Sapporo - Important river running through a plain" Top 5 Page for this destination Sapporo by debtravers

Sapporo Travel Guide: 177 reviews and 435 photos

Snow Festival in Sapporo 2006

This was our first trip to Japan and I was just blown away by the country. Everything seems to work, if you know what I mean. We were here to visit a friend and also to see the annual snow festival. It turned out to be one of the most wonderful trips of my life....(so far)
Sapporo city itself is new and unremarkable, amazingly in 1857 its population was only 7 people! Sapporo is now Japan's 5th largest city and apparently the city where most Japanese would chose to live...(I can understand that, loved this city)
The snow festival was just breathtaking... three very different locations... Odori Park which runs straight across the city is the main area and where you find the HUGE ice sculptures(some of the life-sized sculptures had 3600+ military guys working on them!) Susukino (Sapporo's soho) has ice sculptures down its main street and Sadoland, a subway/bus ride away ,is for the kids (and everyone elses inner kid), more relaxed and wonderful to watch Japanese families having fun in the ice maze and building snowmen, dancing the Sapporo city dance and generally having a ball.

Onsens - a unique experience

We visited the Houheikyo onsen nr Jozankei (last stop on the bus), the only one in sapporo that has the hot spring pumped directly to the outdoor rock pools. The setting was magical, thick snow all around the onsen and laying heavily in the trees leading up the mountain slopes... To lay in HOT spring water whilst feeling snowflakes landing on yr face just has to be one of the most sublime experiences.....
We caught the bus from Sapporo (make sure it is the right bus for Houheikyo, its past Jozankei... the onsens there are affiliated to hotels and are in concrete pools; not the same feeling at all!) the return bus ride and onsen entry was 1700yen - bargain! Buses leave from JR Sapporo trains station (bus terminal) every hour, takes about 1 1/2 hrs to get there. Just take a towel (& hair conditioner etc). Once there its separate pools, changing for men and women. Strip off naked and shower before entering the onsen... the day we went there were all ages there from young mums with babies up to old ladies having a good old gossip. Afterwards you can nap on provided mats on wooden (heated) floors or eat in the dining area (great view through picture windows). A cold beer and a quiet hour chilling.....
a perfect day.

Maruyama Park - southwest Sapporo

Was hidden under deep deep snow but can see this is a beautiful park...was so quiet and peaceful. Apparently the cherry blossom here in Spring is a sight for sore eyes.....

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:All good, food, people, love it all!
  • Cons:Need to learn more japanese before next trip!
  • In a nutshell:If you get the chance to visit Sapporo ice fest, DO IT!
  • Last visit to Sapporo: Feb 2006
  • Intro Updated Mar 15, 2007
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Reviews (17)

Comments (10)

  • glabah's Profile Photo
    Jun 1, 2010 at 8:14 PM

    My city has a sister city relationship with Sapporo, and so I thought I would take a look. You still have the top rated page here!

  • kimij's Profile Photo
    Mar 23, 2007 at 9:39 AM

    HI Debra-wondered if you found Japan expensive???-I would love to go in the snow!!!

  • Sininen's Profile Photo
    Mar 21, 2007 at 10:58 AM

    Hi Debra! Very interesting page on Sapporo. Lately I've grown passion for Japan so money permitting I'd like to travel there maybe next year. Happy birthday from Finland!

  • mim95's Profile Photo
    Mar 13, 2007 at 7:08 AM

    Great photos! Have always wanted to go to the snow festival there but it looks very cold!

  • Hewer's Profile Photo
    Jan 29, 2007 at 7:52 AM

    Still haven't done hot springs and snowflakes myself... I need t get out and explore this country(!) Beautiful pics and great page here Debra.

  • RoseAmano's Profile Photo
    Jan 14, 2007 at 2:45 AM

    Bathing in an outdoor onsen during snow is indeed a great feeling, since cold snow and hot water are both appreciated at the time! PS Your local customs tips are spot on!

  • Dec 7, 2006 at 10:34 PM

    Thanks for your tips on Hokkaido !! will want to try out the onsen that you've recommended !!!

  • travelfrosch's Profile Photo
    Oct 9, 2006 at 2:28 PM

    Accurate tips and beautiful photos! I just missed the '03 Ice Festival; now I almost feel as though I made it. Thanks for the virtual tour! Cheers, Mark

  • sabrina_florida's Profile Photo
    Aug 24, 2006 at 6:55 AM

    I'd love to see that festival some day!

  • Mar 20, 2006 at 11:59 PM

    Many many happy returns of the day . Wishing you a happy birthday . Greetings from India.

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