Sapporo Snow Festival – Part Two: Odori Park Venue

You might think something like “How long did it take to publish the part two article since the first one had been online?” I am sorry to be late due to helping my friend, a public holiday here in Japan and trying to keep fresh to write about my favourite footy player and St Kilda captain, Nick Riewoldt.

The Snow Festival report (part two) covers stories at Odori Park, the main venue for the festival.

Odori Park was planned to separate the residential area of southern Sapporo from the commercial precinct of the northern part of the city and also to act as a firebreak as the area had been badly affected by fires before the park was built. It stretches east to west with a 1.5-kilometre length and 7.8 hectares.

The park has been used for many different purposes since and since 1875, has held various events. Nowadays, not only the snow festival, but also other famous events including food festivals, summer beer garden are held a year-round. However the park has no access in the winter except during the snow festival.

Also as being located in the heart of Sapporo, it is an oasis for both visitors and locals. Many office workers around the park take their lunch breaks in Odori park in the warmer months – usually May through to October.

The venue has twelve sections (West 1 Chome to West 12 Chome) with various genres. Here are summaries.


West 1 Chome: The Skate Rink

Visitors were able to enjoy skating with admission fees of 500 yen for adults (appx $AUD5) and 300 yen for children (appx $AUD3.25) including rental skateboards.

Chome Skate Rink (pic: Yoshi Imagawa)

Chome Skate Rink (pic: Yoshi Imagawa)


West 2 Chome: Toy Town with Big Ice Sculptures

The second section had become a town with toy ice sculptures. It was not only for children to have fun but also for adults to go on a trip back to the past.


West 3 Chome: Small Snow Hill Park

A series of skiing and snowboarding competitions were held. Competitors’ ages ranged from primary school students to adults and all were talented. The area was busy with many spectators seeing competitions.


West 4 Chome to West 10 Chome: Variety of Big Snow Sculptures

Popular and famous big snow sculptures were displayed in most part of the park. These included Star Wars (West 4 Chome), Taiwanese Temple (West 5 Chome), Manilla Cathedral (West 7 Chome), Kasuga Buddhism Temple (West 8 Chome) and Sazae-san (Japanese cartoon, West 10 Chome). Some Visitors enjoyed Hokkaido cuisines and hot drinks at food stalls at West 6 Chome while children had fun with snow sliding next to the Sazae-san Sculpture. Some tourism organisations had temporary houses to promote their regions alongside sculptures of their tourist attractions. It was a good opportunity for them to appeal their regions to local people. Travelling overseas is good for both of them and us, I strongly believe, for cultural and economic reasons.

West Four Chome to West 10 Chome (pic: Yoshi Imagawa)

West Four Chome to West 10 Chome (pic: Yoshi Imagawa)



"These aren't the droids you're looking for..." The most popular Star Wars Sculpture (pic: Yoshi Imagawa)

“These aren’t the droids you’re looking for…” An immensely popular Star Wars themed ice carving (pic: Yoshi Imagawa)



Ball Throwing Competition by Primary School kids. (pic Yoshi Imagawa)

Ball throwing competition by local school kids.



Small Sculpture created by Assistant English Teachers at State Schools (pic: Yoshi Imagawa)

Small Sculpture created by Assistant English Teachers at State Schools (pic: Yoshi Imagawa)



Cartoon charachters Yoshi

Japanese Cartoon, Sazae-san Sculpture (pic: Yoshi Imagawa)



West 11 Chome: International Square

As I mentioned in the previous article, the International Sculpture Competition was held at the section. Also visitors were able to enjoy authentic international cuisines and drinks. When I visited the site on the first day, international teams started creating sculptures. I felt cold and bought a cup of hot mango juice from a Malaysian food stall. It was delicious and warmed me up. You can try next year, I hope.

Also small country skiing and stage shows were entertainments.


West 12 Chome: Local people’s Square

I do not mean that visitors were not welcomed to see small sculptures there. The area was filled with sculptures created by locals. But I have to admit that many of these sculptures were not as good as those created by foreigners.


Goat on Jungisukan Iron Plate (pic: Yoshi Imagawa)

Goat on Jungisukan Iron Plate (Note: The Goat represents this year’s Chinese Zodiac and Jingisukan is a Hokkaido cuisine of grilled lamb and vegetables). (pic: Yoshi Imagawa)


As a world famous event, many visitors from all over the world attended the event. I had many opportunities to talk to foreign visitors that made me very happy. I am happy to see them enjoying the festival. Even I made new friends at the festival.

However it was warm during the first half of the festival, so sadly some sculptures had to be demolished due to safety reasons. Even part of the Star Wars sculpture was included as well as international ones. I was very sad to see on the last day (Wednesday). It is a wake-up call for us, I think (we need to stop using heaters too much in the winter, in my opinion).

Also I think quiz events and competitions should be friendly to international visitors. I was sad seeing quiz competition about small town in Hokkaido and provided in Japanese. And throwing ball competition for children should open for foreign kids.

A funny story was that a gentleman noticed my St Kilda scarf on Sunday morning and talked to me. He is from Canberra and barracks for the Swans. We did not argue, but had friendly talks.

The next snow festival story will be about other two venues. I hope you enjoy reading my snow festival stories.


About Yoshihiro Imagawa

Love, passion and pride are seen on the footy that is the biggest part of my life. 1. St Kilda Club member: I am a passionate and crazy Sainter. Just hope we will win the second flag soon, especially after Dogs and Tigers having ended long premiership draughts. 2. The Osaka Dingoes Player and Public Relations Officer: Player number 44 that I chose to honour Stephen Milne with my wish being like a small forward like him. Lenny Hayes' hardworking attitudes are adopted on my trainings and practices. Nick Riewoldt's great plays are in my player audiobook too. 3. Writing: Here on the Almanac and also on the World Footy News. My skills utilise on great footy websites.


  1. Yvette Wroby says

    Hi Yoshi, fabulous photos. I always travel with my footy scarf because there is always an AFL knowledgable person just a stones throw away. I met Collingwood people in San Fransisco and Geelong people in Aix-En-Provence. Keep wearing the lucky scarf. It’s always good for starting a conversation, no matter who they barrack for. Glad you enjoyed the amazing festival. Rachel and my hotel was along that street, so I know exactly where you are talking about.

    Keep well my friend


  2. HI Yvette,

    Thanks for your comment with warm compliment on pictures and I am glad that you bring your memory of Sapporo back. I agree with you about wearing footy scarf and it is how people start talking. I have met other Swans supporters at another venue.

    Take care too :)


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