Massive ice sculptures amaze Japanese onlookers

Opening of annual Sapporo Snow Festival brings thousands of visitors to gawk at dazzling snow sculptures

By Amy Steinberg
Published February 7, 2011 7:03PM (EST)
One of over 250 ice sculptures at the Sapporo Snow Festival
One of over 250 ice sculptures at the Sapporo Snow Festival

Opening today in its 51st year, the annual Sapporo Snow Festival is still one of Japan's largest tourist attractions.  The festival boasted nearly 2.5 million visitors last year -- a number expected to match this year's total -- and lasts only a week at the former site of the 1972 winter Olympics. International guests come to gape at colossal ice sculptures, which feature detailed renderings of Disney characters, China's Temple of Heaven, and everything in between.   Preparations for the festivities began over a month ago and required upward of 6,000 truckloads of snow.  


Amy Steinberg

Amy Steinberg is an editorial fellow at Salon.

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