Thanks to the University Entrance exams that are going on in Japan, we were given a 10-day break starting February 6th. It was the perfect opportunity to attend the Snow Festival in Sapporo, which ran from February 5th to February 11th. I booked my flight, borrowed warm clothes from my host mother and sister to combat the cold weather, and was ready.
The first thing I noticed upon leaving the airport was how unexpectedly nice Sapporo’s coldness was. The cold air was refreshing rather than biting (perhaps the warm clothes my host family lent me played a part…), and over the next few days I, whose biggest worry about visiting Sapporo was not being used to the low temperatures and freezing to death, happily explored parts of the city and attended the Snow Festival.
The festival actually had three separate venues: Oodori Park, the streets in the Susukino area, and the area in front of the Sapporo Community Dome. The Oodori Park venue, with the famous snow sculptures, was the biggest. It spanned around 12 blocks, with snow sculptures of all sizes, an ice rink, and so, so many food stalls. I went to the place three times, and was able to see different parts of the festival and try different foods from the stalls each time. Susukino had sculptures made of ice instead of snow, and Sapporo Dome, in addition to a small number of snow sculptures, had fun games such as snow tubing and snow rafting. Compared to Oodori Park, they were less crowded and you could play games in the Sapporo Dome site, which broke the monotony of looking at ice and snow sculptures all the time. There were snow and ice slides, and a little skiing area for children, who could ski with the bamboo skis provided or even make their own. I had a lot of fun snow tubing and snow rafting for the first time.
I took the chance to have a look around Sapporo, too. I went on a bus tour to the Shiroi Koibito Park where Hokkaido’s famous Shiroi Koibito cookies (made of a slice of white chocolate sandwiched between two langue de chat cookies – “Shiroi Koibito” literally translates to “White Lovers”) are produced. There was a museum inside the park where one can learn more about chocolate and the Shiroi Koibito cookies themselves, as well as see the factory’s production line. Afterwards I lingered in front of the cupcake display in the Park’s cafe (because I enjoy torturing my sense of self-restraint) before changing course completely and deciding on the Shiroi Koibito soft-serve ice-cream, which was creamy and delicious. After Shiroi Koibito Park, the bus tour went to Mt. Okura and Mt. Moiwa, which, after short cable car rides to the top, offered beautiful views of Sapporo city. I wish I could have gone there at night, too – the view would have been stunning!
The few days in Sapporo had given me a lot of affection for this lovely city. I had a lot of fun and I hope I could go back again some time!
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<div><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Anh hailed from Hanoi, Vietnam and is currently a sophomore at Haverford College, Pennsylvania. She plans to major in Computer Science, but decided to take a non-CompSci semester abroad before coming back to it in her junior year (after all, when else will she get the chance?). In her free time she enjoys reading, exploring new places and new types of food, people-watching, as well as reading food blogs, planning to make every single dish that catches her eye, and then completely forgetting about them. She is as excited to blog about her journey as she is about her Spring semester in Nagoya!</span></div>