Sapporo Snow Festival

There are few better things in this world than spending time with friends. As an expat, you tend to form bonds pretty quickly, sometimes deeply. They're impactful connections due to the shared unique living experience. I've lived in Japan twice now, moved to several major U.S. cities, and in that time I've been on a few getaways with the girls. This trip to Sapporo was particularly special, though, because it was a personal bucket list item for Japan.

It also ticked off another check on my "20 in 2020" list!

#2 Enjoy a girl's trip

And enjoy we did! Located in Hokkaido, an island known for its seafood, milk production, and lavender fields, Sapporo is the capital of this mountainous region. Famous for their beer and skiing, the reason we flew up for a quick weekend getaway was to attend the 71st annual Sapporo Snow Festival. It was unreal. Having never lived above the Mason-Dixon my memories of snow are few and far-between. Sapporo made up for this in spades!

We flew out of Tokyo while it was still dark, learning our lesson there while leaving the more temperate winter of the city for the very snowy and icy cityscape up north. Our hotel, Unwind Bar & Hotel, was absolutely precious, perfect for a night away, cozy, clean, and best of all, centrally located. Thank you Nishka! It made it easy to check right in and head towards Odori Park for the snow sculptures.

Of course, before we did that we had to enjoy a really hot meal. We were starving, it was cold, and we were all itching to eat some really good food. In this instance it was a bowl of ramen on Ramen Alley-buttered corn ramen for some of us since it's a local specialty. We filled up, warmed up, then rolled out. We were not disappointed when we arrived at the park. Not even a little.

For half a moment it was like being a snow globe: the snow had started falling, whipping around us pretty quickly as if the city were being shaken. I thought it was beautiful, adding to the magic of the festival. It eventually passed-as did the clouds in the sky-and soon there was nothing but sun. The crowds weren't big at all, and from mulled wine to donuts on a stick we ate, we drank, we ran into friends from Tokyo, and overall were really impressed by the skills of the snow sculptors.

Enjoy these snapshots from the Snow Festival!

(My favorite snow sculpture because TURTLES!! And it won first place in the sculpture contest!)