Sapporo Snow Festival Opens

Society Guide to Japan Travel

Sapporo, Feb. 4 (Jiji Press)--The 70th annual Sapporo Snow Festival started on Monday, featuring a total of 194 snow and ice sculptures at three venues in the capital of Hokkaido, northernmost Japan.

Two ice racehorse sculptures appeared in Odori Park, the main venue of the event, which will be held through Feb. 11.

Racehorses are actively produced in Hokkaido's Iburi and Hidaka regions, which were hit by a powerful earthquake in September last year. The sculptures are meant to encourage disaster victims, organizers said.

Visitors can board the ice sculpture of a "Star Wars" movie series combat aircraft at the Odori site.

There are 82 snow sculptures made by citizens. Among them are sculptures of popular television character Chiko-chan and Chibi Maruko-chan, the main character of the long-running namesake manga series created by Momoko Sakura, who died last year.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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