Wednesday, February 19, 2014


We finally made the trip from Iwakuni (our home on the southwest part of Honshu, Japan's largest island) to Sapporo, Hokkaido. Hokkaido is a large island in northern Japan. Sapporo, its largest city and the 4th largest in Japan, is a popular winter vacation spot. It was made world-famous by hosting the 1972 Winter Olympics - the first location in Asia.

We have been trying to make it up to Sapporo for a few winters now. Dustin seems to disappear for this or that training in January and February. The snow finally aligned and we were able to visit the last of the big four islands and experience yuki matsuri, snow festival.

View from our hotel

The snow festival is an international event and was expected to draw 2.2 million people this year. It was cost-effective to travel with an organzed group trip provided by the base. We traveled with the group, but then decided not to participate in the guided tours. We tend to like our free time and explore on our own. Because of the masses expected to convene in Sapporo during the festival, our trip was before the official kick-off. We were able to see many displays being constructed and avoided some of the crowds.

Dustin is standing on ~8 inches of compacted snow/ice.
Dustin and I have never lived together in a snowy climate. We get excited at every little bit of snow so to fly into a city covered in the beautiful white stuff was magical. And cold. Daily temperature was around 9 degrees. If you were out of the sun or on just the right block to catch the biting wind it was pretty miserable. We bundled in layers and warmed up in donut shops and convenience stores along the way.

The Sapporo Snow Festival is broken up into three main sites. One is designed with kids in mind and had huge ramps built for sledding. In warmer months this area is a parking lot.

Pack up snow to make a billboard

Tons of snow... in a parking lot.

We had such a good time exploring the city. Hokkaido is known for some interesting food and the four days we spent exploring the city brought a different twist on our adventures. Like freezing cold. And, oh yes, lots of snow.

No comments:

Post a Comment