In Pictures: Final Preparations for the Sapporo Snow Festival

On Friday, a blast of warm air invaded Hokkaido (and the rest of Japan), sending temperatures up into the above-freezing range not usually seen until March. Across town, previously iced-over roads turned to slush, news helicopters showed footage of roads from above looking the color of, well, roads.

At Odori Park, the main venue for the Sapporo Snow Festival, final preparations were in full swing, and the 6-degree sunshine wasn’t enough to melt away the developing structures. Now, on Saturday night, winter has returned.

Here are a few of my favorite shots from my stroll through the park.

Workers tend to some detail work in the shadow of a large sculpture.
Workers tend to some detail work in the shadow of a large sculpture.

Two blocks of snow form a wall around one of the sculpture sites.

Two blocks of snow form a wall around one of the sculpture sites.

 

Pikachu (and Pikachu) get some sun. Several similar character parings could be found in the park.
Pikachu (and Pikachu) get some sun. Several similar character parings could be found in the park.

 

A group works on a sculpture, collecting snow from the nearby sidewalk to complete the job.
A group works on a sculpture, collecting snow from the nearby sidewalk to complete the job.
Workers on skis on the huge ramp near the TV Tower can be seen with a zoom lens through a fence.
Workers on skis on the huge ramp near the TV Tower can be seen with a zoom lens through a fence.
Members of the Japan Self Defense Forces work near a large snow sculpture they are building.
Members of the Japan Self Defense Forces work near a large snow sculpture they are building.
A member of the Japan Self Defense Forces reachers for some buckets of snow as he and others work on a large snow sculpture.
A member of the Japan Self Defense Forces reaches for some buckets of snow as he and others work on a large snow sculpture.

 

A sculpture with a long spiky tail looks north toward Sapporo Station.
A sculpture with a long spiky tail looks north toward Sapporo Station.

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