Large-scale sculptures cancelled at next year’s Sapporo Snow Festival

Large-scale sculptures lit up and crowded with visitors at the Sapporo Snow Festival venue in February 2020

The Sapporo Snow Festival Executive Committee, made up of representatives from Sapporo City and the like, announced on September 21 that the installation of large-scale snow sculptures at the 72nd Sapporo Snow Festival, scheduled to be held in February next year, will be cancelled again, as they were this year. The Tsudome venue (Higashi-ku) and the International Snow Sculpture Competition will also be cancelled. The decision was made as an end to coronavirus pandemic could not be foreseen. With regard to the details of the event, a decision regarding a scaling down to small- and medium-size sculptures at the Odori and Susukino venues (Chuo-ku), or to switch to an alternative online event, will be made before the end of the year.

According to the Sapporo Tourist Association, the secretariat of the executive committee, it was decided that it is necessary to suppress the number of visitors, from the perspective of preventing further spread of infection. Another reason was the inability to inspect overseas structures on which the large-scale sculptures are themed. According to a representative of the association, “Based on the situation regarding infections, it is hoped to find a way of holding the event, even if the scale is reduced.”

“In terms of a spectacle, it will be somewhat desolate without the large-scale sculptures,” says a despondent Koishi Takumi, a sculptor from Ebetsu who has been involved in the creation of snow sculptures for approximately 50 years and who also serves as a technical advisor. Before the pandemic, the Snow Festival venues were lively places, not just with tourists enjoying the large-scale sculptures, but also with locals building the small and medium-sized ones. Mr. Koishi believes that this is the real attraction of the Snow Festival. “I really hope the sculptures made by the locals are allowed to remain,” he says.


Odori Park