While living in Tokyo, we heard of the Sapporo’s Snow Festival. Even though it takes place during school days, we decided to pack early and go for it… and we definitely didn’t regret it.

During the Snow Festival you can see a large number of splendid snow and ice-sculptures. For seven days in February, Hokkaido is turned into a winter wonderland of pristine crystal-like ice and snow.

1. Abashiri

Our journey started on a plane to Abashiri, a fishing village to the north of Hokkaido.



The first thing we did was to visit the drift ice on board of an Icebreaker where we discovered an amazing floating land of ice. Stunning!

After that trip we reached shore we looked for a place for lunch. We ended up in a great local Japanese restaurant. Part of the beauty of this country is that usually all of the restaurants have excellent cuisine and have great service!

 

The surroundings of Abashiri were beautiful and offered breath-taking sunsets.



We visited the Abashiri Prison Museum, a Meiji-era facility used for the incarceration of political prisoners. It was incredibly fascinating due its unique architecture and its intriguing – yet creepy – history of its prisoners and their lifestyle.



Around the Abashiri Lake we found all sort of ice activities, like ice slides, on-ice banana rides, ice motorcycle riding and other fun ice-themed activities.

It was another great day!

2. Asahikawa

We continued our journey through Hokkaido by train towards Asahikawa, a city in the middle of the Hokkaido Island, where we enjoyed more of the Festival with its skillfully crafted Ice Sculptures and laser shows. We also saw our first ever igloo bar.

The next day surprised us with the highlight of the trip. Dog sleighing!

It’s a fantastic feeling. It’s like sailing –after switching off the engine, the deafening noise disappears and you hear nothing but the wind. The same happens with dog sleighs– the dogs anxious panting to start the race, and once the boss release the lock you just hear the wind in a white and peaceful environment.

3. Sapporo  

We hopped back on the train to reach our final destination - Sapporo and its famous Snow Festival.

Sliding on funny skates and more fun slides:

 

Ice sculptures and real life sized snow buildings, amazing!

 

 

Many countries cooperate with their own sculpture…my Dutch husband was a bit disappointed with the way his country fellows got away with their moving mountains. The picture on the right, from which I don’t remember the country of origin, was amazing though.

Four unforgettable days, a trip I would recommend to everyone and would love to live again.