* Hokkaido Travel Tips的部落格

*Hokkaido Travel Tips’ Blog
We compile information on “0 yen tourist spots” and “must-see paid spots with extra benefits” and then keep them in our blog as archives for your convenience. We also introduce the food of Hokkaido and interesting souvenirs to take home.



大雪像 凱旋門 / Large snow sculpture: The Arc de Triomphe in Paris

大雪像 凱旋門

Large snow sculpture: The Arc de Triomphe in Paris
Since the Ancient Roman Era, a variety of triumphal arches have been built throughout in Europe. However, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France, is the most famous. Also, the snow sculptures of a horse and jockey refer to Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, which is one of the biggest horse races in the world, and is held every year in France. Hokkaido is well known as a good place for thoroughbred breeding. A Japanese horse is favored to win the French race. The sponsor of this big snow sculpture is the Japan Racing Association (JRA).

大雪像 興福寺中金堂 / Large snow sculpture: The Central Golden Hall of Kohfukuji Temple

大雪像 興福寺中金堂
興福寺的中金堂是由構築日本的法治政治基礎的藤原不比等(Fuziwara Fuhito)於西元710年,下令在奈良(當時的首都)所建造的。中金堂雖然是貴重的寺院但歷史上曾反覆7次被銷毀又重建。在1717年的銷毀後有好長一段時間都沒有重建。然而,在2000年時開始重建工程,目標為於2018年落成。

Large snow sculpture: The Central Golden Hall of Kohfukuji Temple
The Central Golden Hall of Kohfukuji Temple was built in 710 in Nara, the capital city at that time. This was under the order of Fuhito Fujiwara, who set up the basis of Japan’s first political system under the sovereignty of rational laws and civic rights. The Central Golden Hall was the most important cathedral of the three for trainee monks, but it burned down seven times and was reconstructed each time. After 1717, the reconstruction work didn’t start for a long time. However, the project to reconstruct the central golden hall started in 2000, and will finish in 2018.

大雪像 星際大戰 / Large snow sculpture: Star Wars

大雪像 星際大戰

Large snow sculpture: Star Wars
Everyone can agree that Star Wars is one of the most famous and popular science fiction series. The first film of the Star Wars series was "Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope" and this was on a road show throughout in U.S.A. 40 years ago. To celebrate the 40th anniversary, a big snow sculpture featuring the Star Wars characters has been built. Also, in December 2017, the new film is going to be released, and fans are looking forward to seeing it. As for Sapporo Snow Festival, a big Star Wars snow sculpture was built in 2015, so 2017 is the second time.

大冰雕 台北賓館 / Large ice sculpture: Taipei Guest House

大冰雕 台北賓館

Large ice sculpture: Taipei Guest House
Taipei Guest House, located in the central area in Taipei, is a historical building which was completed in 1901. A number of Japanese men worked on the construction design. Impressive decorations were applied on the exterior walls as this building was built as a reception hall for VIPs from abroad. The exterior design has a Western style, but the interior garden is like a Japanese garden. The building is usually closed to the public, but it admits visitors once a month to have a look inside. This historical building is still used as a reception hall for VIPs who visit Taiwan.

大雪像 Totto 商店街 / Large snow sculpture: Totto Shopping Street

大雪像 Totto 商店街

Large snow sculpture: Totto Shopping Street
Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, wearing a heavenly maiden costume and holding a television in her arms, is featured at the corner of an imaginary shopping street. She is known in Japan as a first actress in TV dramas. She is now over eighty, but she still actively appears on television. In the 1950s, television was so expensive and was only for high class people. Common people enjoyed watching public TV. Through this large snow sculpture, the history of television is presented. This is also related to the theme of Sapporo International Art Festival 2017 - which runs from August to October.

大雪像 決戰!雪之最終幻想 / Large snow sculpture: A final battle on snow - Final Fantasy

大雪像 決戰!雪之最終幻想

Large snow sculpture: A final battle on snow - Final Fantasy
Final Fantasy is a role-playing video game series which was first released about twenty years ago. It became a world-wide hit and more than eleven million copies have been sold. The main theme of this snow sculpture is rebirth and creation. A story of "respecting Mother Earth, fighting against science and technology which can sometimes destroy nature, and protecting birth as new life" is played via the most up-to-date acoustic system, which has never used in Sapporo Snow Festival before.

大冰雕「鯨魚之家」/ Large ice sculpture: Whale Home


Large ice sculpture: Whale Home
This design was decided via the "Dream House" design competition. The concept was for elementary school students throughout Hokkaido to design an ideal, imaginary house. The winner, out of 444 entries was Whale Home. The shape of the house is a whale as the title indicates, and it is possible to navigate this house and move it anywhere. Even camping in the sea is possible with the house moving in the sea as if it was swimming. On the back of the whale, there is a tree and apples come out like the whale is blowing its spout.

亞洲冬季運動會 / The Asian Winter Games

The Asian Winter Games are held nearly once every four years; depending on the organizational situation. This is a huge winter sports extravaganza. The first Games were in Sapporo in 1986. This year, the eighth games are being held in Sapporo, following the seventh in Kazakhstan in 2011. 31 countries will take part in the 2017 Sapporo Asian Winter Games. Eleven events encompassing five sports are held mainly in Sapporo from February 19 to February 26. There are some events which people can watch free of charge. Details are on the official website (https://sapporo2017.org). Only the speed skating is held in Obihiro City, and anyone can enjoy watching it for free.


昆布 / Kombu


Hokkaido is famous for kombu, or kelp in English. Kombu contains glutamic acid and has a good flavor. The history of kombu harvesting is long. In the 13th century, kombu which the Ainu , Hokkaido's indigenous people, collected  was sent to Kyoto, the capital city at that time for the high-class people. After the 17th century, kombu became popular among all citizens, and consumption increased. Now, kombu farming in the sea is commonplace. The top production locationn in Hokkaido is Hakodate City. The next four largest, in order, are Nemuro City, Erimo Town, Hamanaka Town, and Akkeshi Town.

冬季祭典 / Winter festivals


Throughout January and February, many local winter festivals are held in Hokkaido. Each festival is unique but most of them pertain to making snow or ice sculptures or structures. Interesting and unique events on snow are held as festivals mostly. Also, temporary food stands selling local specialty foods are highlights at the events. In Hokkaido, the Sapporo Snow Festival, which is held in the beginning of February every year, is the biggest winter festival and is world famous. For this snow festival, preparations for big snow or ice sculptures start from soon after the New Year holidays.

1月上旬的札幌 / In Sapporo at the beginning of January


In Sapporo at the beginning of January, the highest temperature during the day is almost always below zero. If the highest temperature is below zero, the day is called Mafuyubi in Japanese, which literally means mid-winter day. About 20 to 30 years ago, highest temperatures above zero during a day were rare. In recent years though, it's more common. This is probably because of global warming. The lowest temperature can fall to -5 to -10 degrees. Shops, except for supermarkets and department stores, usually close from January 1st to 5th over the New Year holidays in Japan.

元旦日出 / Hatsuhinode


Hatsuhinode is the sunrise on New Year's Day, called ganjitsu in Japanese. "Hatsu" means the first and "hinode" means the sunrise. In Japan, hatsuhinode is regarded to be a happy and lucky thing, as the sun has been worshipped since ancient ages. It is popular to see hatsuhinode in Japan, and there are some famous spots in Hokkaido. Cape Chikyu in Muroran City is one of them. Chikyu means the earth. Here, it is possible to see the sun rise over the horizon of the sea. Hatsuhinode at Cape Chikyu is typically broadcast on Hokkaido's local news on TV.

日勝隘口 / Nisshou Pass


Nisshou Pass is between Hidaka Town and Shimizu Town, and is the border between them. As driving conditions are difficult due to dense fog in summer, and snow and ice on the road in winter, drivers have to be careful. This pass is important for transportation, connecting the Douou area (including Sapporo), and the Doutou area (including Obihiro and Kushiro). On August 30, 2016, a big typhoon hit, with landslides, road damage and bridge collapses occurring. As of December, 2016, construction work is still being undertaken, and will be finished in autumn 2017. During the construction, the paid express way between Shimukappu and Otofuke Obihiro is free.

丹頂鶴 / The red-crowned crane


The red-crowned crane lives in relatively cool areas of the Far East, and is loved by people in China and Japan because of its elegant look. As there are no feathers on the top of its head, this part of the bare skin looks red. Kushiro Marsh and its surroundings are their most famous habitat, and the red-crowned crane can be seen through the year. In Tsurui Village, which literally means crane-living village, there is a big, famous sanctuary for feeding them, with more than one hundred cranes present in winter. In February and March, the cranes dance to find a mate.