After the chocolate factory, the bus dropped us off by the Sapporo TV tower.
We decided we better start off with lunch and that the tower restaurant, overlooking Odoi Park (the main park with all the snow sculptures), was a good choice, especially because we wanted to go up in the tower to see the amazing view.
Lunch in the restaurant came with a great view too. It was nice to come in from the cold and get warmed up before heading out to walk all 12 blocks of the snow sculpture display.
Ryan ordered a pizza.
It came with this cute little bottle of tabasco.
I ordered an omelet with tomato sauce and crab, and then fried rice (which is hidden under the egg). It was awesome!
Then we took the glass elevator ALL the way to the TOP!
Check out these views:
This is facing the street with all the sculptures.
At the very start there was an ice skating rink. We watched some of the kids for a bit.
This is looking back at the tower. You can see the observation deck all the way at the top, which is where we were just a few moments before.
Then all of the displays started.
There was even a snowboarding jump set up and they had some demonstrations and competitions.
Before we headed out, we decided to grab a quick drink, just for one last moment of warmth. I don't usually go for the organic products, but they are so rare here in Japan that Ryan grabbed me a packet of organic sugar to take a picture of. In Tokyo it is more common, but I didn't expect this all the way up in Sapporo (although this is from a major coffee chain in Japan).
Now on to the sculptures. There were about 12 blocks, some with more sculptures than others, and some with bigger sculptures than others. Some sections were mainly dedicated to food. Some were showcasing product displays.
I would say that there was a good mix of food and then sculptures and certainly no way anyone could go hungry at this festival.
I love that they had sweet potatoes for sale. They were selling them on a stick!
Meet on a stick is very popular (like a kebab).
Takoyaki , which are octopus balls (or more appropriately batter based balls made from octopus pieces), with all kinds of toppings. Bonito flakes and a special sauce are the most popular ways to top these.
This is a display of sea creatures under the sea.
This is a little closer up. Yes, that is all sculpted from snow.
This is the whale. Actually, we came back at night and they were doing a show with this display where they lit up each animal and then talked about it. Too bad it was all in Japanese.
This is the walrus, and it seemed like they were doing a little game in front of this. The large displays were used for various performances, so they all had stages.
This is Mickey from the Sorcerer's Apprentice. Amazing!
You can see that there is a Japanese music performer here. He must have been popular because lots of people were going crazy.
Too funny! I just had to pose with this one.
This was an ice sculpture. It was very nicely lit at looked really cool at night.
This is one of the bigger food areas.
This is a kids area with a fun little slide.
As I mentioned in a previous post, Hokkaido (the island just north of Honshu, mainland Japan) is the major producer of milk for Japan.
This was the main attraction for the festival and I believe the opening ceremony was held here. I saw the video on YouTube because it was before we got there. This is a 1/4 size replica of the Taj Mahal.
With us in the picture you can get an idea of how large this sculpture really is. The best part was that there was awesome Indian food available right next to this display (that will be on my next post!).
Here is a little about the Taj Mahal display and it's significance. I think you can somewhat make out what it says.
This is a castle (sorry, not sure which one).
Wild animal scene
This was actually the Misawa Navy sculpture.
Super Mario Kart!
We walked up to this Nissin Ramen hut just as they were giving free samples, so we jumped in line.
Now these are the snow sculptures created by people from all over the world, and these were part of the snow sculpture contest. They did judging, so by this time, prizes were awarded. These are absolutely amazing.
This one first place. This is by far my favorite. I love dragons.
Sorry, I don't have the names or descriptions (stories) about each of these. Some were complex and described with short stories about the work.
This was done by people from Hawaii. This is the back side.
This is the front.
This piece did place (I think second perhaps). What is really neat here is that the shadow you see is actually the shadow of one of the artists. He just happened to be there and was telling us about the process of sculpting this and the work that went into this. He said everyone started with the same piece of snow and carved it out from that. I believe he said it took about 3 days to complete (don't quote me on that!).
I have no idea why, but it showed up green at night.
I think this is Happy Feet!
This was taken as we were walking back from the festival area.
This was a tub of crabs outside a crab specialty restaurant.
We picked this place for dinner. Italian sounded good and there would be something for both of us.
I started with a nice beer. Hey, when in Sapporo...
We ordered some olives, which was great because we haven't really had olives since we left Europe.
Then we indulged in the cheese plate. Yum!
We both went with past. This was Ryan's.
Then I had some pasta with crab. If you notice there is a lot of crab around here. Sapporo (and Hokkaido in general) is known for it's crab, and really pretty much any seafood.
On the way back to the hotel we stopped to look at the giant ferris wheel. It was way too cold to even consider going for a ride.
Then once we were back in the room, warmed up and relaxing, we tried out the baum kuchen (a German cake in origin that the Japanese are really fond of, and we discovered when we were in Tokyo) we picked up from the chocolate factory.
Whew! That was a long day, but it was awesome. More to come of the festival. We still had one more day of checking out Sapporo before heading back home.
QUESTIONS: Have you ever visited a tower observation deck (I know some people are afraid of heights) to check out the view of a city? Which snow sculpture picture is your favorite? Have you ever tried Nissin instant ramen?