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Sapporo Snow Festival, Japan

Sapporo Snow Festival, Japan

The origins of the Sapporo Snow Festival date back to 1950, when a half-dozen local high school students got together and built a half-dozen snow statues in Odori Park. This sort of activity is historically commonplace in the winter on the island of Hokkaido because of its typically heavy snowfalls.

A few years later, in 1955, Japan’s Self-Defense Forces, viewing participation as a training exercise, came from a nearby base and built sculptures. Their participation continues to this day. However, in 1972, Sapporo hosted the Winter Olympics—its location as Japan’s northernmost island blesses its landscape with lots of snow and skiing opportunities. The Olympic games introduced Sapporo’s Snow Festival to the rest of the world. The festival now averages about 2 million visitors per year, most of them Japanese; a tiny 3 percent visits from the rest of the world, including Asia.
 

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