The Sapporo Snow Festival this year was held from 6th of February-12th of February 2012 and this being our last year in Japan,we had to had to go ! So we had booked the tickets to and fro Chitose airport,2 months in advance on Skymark airlines (pretty good deal as compared to the last minute ones).Even the accommodations were done with and now there was only the wait and the excitement to make the most of this 3 night 4 day trip.
We reached Chitose Airport at about 10am on 8th February and hopped on the rapid train to Sapporo.Reaching Sapporo,the rush and the crowd said it all…the festivities were in full swing ! We came across this convenient arrangement of temporary shelves for baggage…and we quickly checked in ours there.We then checked with the information desk for any special deals of the season and other tiny doubts we had…and i must say…the ladies there were so kind and helpful and of course efficient in their job…i guess anything done with a smile always makes it all the more special 🙂 🙂
After a quick lunch at an elaborately decorated Indian restaurant…we set off for the real fun! One thing that was always on our mind was the slippery ice on the crossings and side walks…at times there was only just a pavement of ice to walk on…actually to march on…only that avoided the falls..though not for long 😉 And holding hands…stepping one step at a time…we finally reached the Odori park all decked up with huge snow exhibits.The themes were many…and so were the sizes and the countries…and the food and the people.. 🙂 🙂 Now let me cruise you through the snow wonderland…
We were so thrilled to see the Taj Mahal here too…this was built in commemoration of 60 yrs of diplomatic relationship between India and Japan ! What a lucky coincidence for us 😉
And then there were rows of foreign artisans working on their sculptures depicting messages from their home countries.
While walking through the many sculptures what caught my attention was Odiya..my mother tongue ! Amazed to hear it in such a far away place,when i looked around..i saw these artisans from India…and guess whom we met..the Internationally acclaimed Sand Artist Mr.Sudarshan Patnaik and his top students Mr.Bulu Mohanty and Mr.Jitendra Kishore Jagdev.Not only from India,but they are actually from our native place Odisha,in eastern India.We were simply so thrilled to find them here! We had long conversations with this celebrity from our homeland and felt so proud and honored to have met this humble man and his team ! You can know more about him and his sculptures at his site SandIndia.Their sculpture at the Snow Festival depicted the effects of climate change on us humans and the Mother Earth.
Time for some Fun !!
So within about 3 hours we were done with Odori Park and returned back to the station for our trip to Otaru for the Gleaming SnowLight Festivals.But wait,there’s still more to these lovely sculptures.As advised by our friends on various travel sites,and especially thanks to my blogger friend Ben of Japanese Ties,we had decided to see the sculptures at night too…so next evening we were back to the Odori Street and Susukino for the snow and ice sculptures respectively !
The Susukino area is famous for its nightlife and food…and is a walkable distance from the Odori Park site but to save time,we decided to use our subway pass to the optimum and were greeted by the dazzling Sapporo Clock Tower on the Odori exit.
For more details about the sculptures and the winners you can visit the official site here.And guess what i found..on the given page,in the snap under the 39th International Snow Sculpture contest,the girl in pink cap and guy in yellow jacket..is US !!..he he…what coincidence again…we were unaware of it being taken while we were chatting with Mr.Sudarshan Patnaik and his team,the renowned artisans from our state,Odisha,India.
I hope u enjoyed this post ! Lookout for more of Sapporo in my upcoming posts 🙂 🙂
Have a Great Day ! Cheers !!