To be honest this was a trip I was not really looking forward to, even dreading. Not because of the bitter cold Hokkaido is known for, but because I’d just had the flu the previous week, and I was not yet feeling myself.
But this trip honestly turned out so much better than I expected it to! Mainly because of good friends, and Sapporo being a very interesting city. If I changed anything I probably wouldn’t have stayed in Sapporo as long as I did, but I would definitely recommend the festival to anyone! For reference, I went on Saturday and stayed till Tuesday, but if you just want to see the festival and nothing else then I just suggest a weekend.
The Sapporo Yuki Matsuri (札幌雪まつり) was impressive, but it’s really crowded and impossible to take pictures without getting someone in them. Honestly, my favorite part of the festival was away from the main structures at Odori park. I really enjoyed the ice sculptures as well as the activities that they had at the Sapporo dome. They had a slide made out of ice for kids, as well as a slide for snow tubing, which was fun for all ages!
We also went to the Sapporo Beer Museum, which was a lot of fun, too. I think if you want to eat there you have to make reservations in advance for the different rooms, but the museum is free and you can immediately go to star hall, where you can do a flight of 3 beers for tasting. The flight is only ¥800 (about $8) and individual beers are ¥350 (about $3.50). The three beers from the testing set are the black label, the classic (Hokkaido exclusive), and Kaitakushi (which I liked the best).
Outside of Sapporo I went to Otaru which is about a 30min train ride from Sapporo station. I went to see Otaru Snow Light Path Festival (小樽雪あかりの路). It’s really crowded and it takes only about an hour, but I thought it was really beautiful, and I highly recommend going if you’re in the area around that time!
All in all I wasn’t expecting to have a great time, but I ended up having a lot of fun. Many thanks to the woman who I traveled with, you made the experience worthwhile, and also to my boyfriend who gave me the kick in the ass I needed to go on this trip.
I definitely recommend going to the Yuki Matsuri in Sapporo at least once in your life, especially if you’re from an area where not much snow falls, because the sheer size of the sculptures in itself is very impressive.