Fans of Star Wars, Final Fantasy and Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen have fallen in love with this year’s breathtaking giant displays.
Now in its 68th year, the annual Sapporo Snow Festival continues to draw millions of visitors to the capital city of Hokkaido with its lineup of impressive snow sculptures. Staged on three sites – at Odori Park, Susukino and Tsu Dome – it’s the giant works of art on the 1.5-kilometre (0.9-mile) stretch along Odori Park that always prove to be most popular, and this year the massive sculptures feature an outstanding lineup of local and international stars who’ve made headlines in recent years.
The centrepiece of the outdoor collection is an enormous creation that pays homage to Kylo Ren from the 2015 film Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Pictured alongside R2-D2, C-3PO and BB-8, the carefully crafted sculpture towers over visitors who crowd around to bask in its glory.
▼ From this angle, it looks like Ren is staring straight at you!
Darth Vader and his stormtroopers attended a pre-opening ceremony at the sculpture last night, where visitors were given lightsaber-esque glow sticks to celebrate their arrival.
おはようございます。 本日から第68回札幌雪まつり。昨日のオープニングセレモニーにはベイダー卿もお越しになったそうです。 カイロレン、難しいんだろうなぁ。 #北海道#札幌#雪まつり #スターウォーズ#カイロレン#ダースベイダー#ストームトルーパー#帝国軍 #c3po#r2d2 #bb8#sapporo #yukimatsuri #starwars#kyloren #darthvader#stormtrooper #galacticempire #lightsaber #snowart #snowstatue #starwarsforceawakens #art #followme#lucasfilm #disney#starwarsfan#starwarsart#snow#japan
Another snow sculpture generating a huge amount of interest is this one, which captures a dramatic scene from Final Fantasy VII.
Called “Decisive Battle! Snow Final Fantasy“, this exhibit shows series protagonist Cloud standing off against his nemesis Sephiroth. Designed by Square Enix to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Final Fantasy VII, the sculpture is also drumming up interest for FFVII Remake, the upcoming PS4 retelling of the original game.
According to Square Enix, their sculpture comes complete with a state-of-the-art surround sound system to help transport visitors to the animated fantasy world using well-known music from FFVII.
Another well-known star to appear at this year’s festival is singing sensation Piko Taro, who became world-famous following the release of his viral hit, “Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen”.
▼ Piko Taro looks thrilled to be appearing at the Sapporo Snow Festival!
▼ Piko Taro’s beloved Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen also received its own homage in snow.
For some bizarre reason, Donald Trump also appeared at the festival, giving his own fish-lipped version of Piko Taro’s hit song.
▼ Even Pikachu was spotted with his very own Apple Pen!
Japan’s beloved instant noodle brand Cup Noodle has also been catching the eye of visitors at the festival.
Located next to a snow slide area, visitors have been spotted capturing photos of themselves “eating” the enormous noodles, posing with their mouths open in front of the sculpture to create an interesting visual effect.
Another exhibit bringing a smile to the faces of festivalgoers is this cute sculpture of Godzilla doing the popular “koi dance” or “love dance” that took Japan by storm in 2016.
The beautiful series of ice sculptures on display at this year’s Sapporo Snow Festival have been carefully crafted by citizens and members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force. To catch a glimpse of the towering displays before they disappear from Hokkaido’s snowy landscape, you’ll have to be quick, as the festival is only on until 12 February. With hundreds of snow and ice sculptures spread across the festival’s three sites, this is one winter event we could happily go back again for year after year!