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Wednesday, 25th November 2015
In Weather In Japan,

Hokkaido experiences heavy snowfall

Winter has definitely arrived in Japan, as temperatures across the city fell today (Wednesday) and heavy snowfall occurred in Hokkaido.

The island’s capital, Sapporo, had 44 centimetres of snow by 11am, making it the most amount the city has experienced at this time of year for 62 years.

That is according to the Japan Meteorological Agency, which is carefully monitoring conditions in Japan, where blasts of cold air have been felt.

Hokkaido is used to cold and snowy conditions, as it is Japan’s northernmost island and sees plenty of prevailing winds from Russia.

So wintry is this part of Japan in fact, it has become famous as something of a wonderland at this time of year and is celebrated through a series of festivals.

Around two million people are expected to descend on Hokkaido for the Sapporo Snow Festival, which will run from February 5th to 11th next year.

This is a far cry from its humble origins in 1950, but the annual event is now a spectacle many people wish to see and something to add to an itinerary for anyone travelling in Japan in early 2016.

It is held across three sites in Sapporo, with the most famous one being Odori Park, which becomes an incredible gallery of sculptures made out of compacted snow.

The intricate detail incorporated into the designs and fine skill on display should not be underestimated, as iconic buildings and cartoon characters emerge in the temporary attractions.

February is a busy time for festivals in Hokkaido and smaller events, such as the Asahikawa Winter Festival and the Abashiri Okhotsk Drift Ice Festival, take place from February 6th to 11th and February 11th to 14th respectively.

Each event has a different focus, with performers and food featuring more highly in some than others, but it is the snow and ice sculptures that are the main attractions.

Related news stories:
Shinkansen debuts in Hokkaido (10th December 2014)
Northern Japan rocked by magnitude 6.7 earthquake (14th January 2016)