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In Japan, Snow Sculptures Are Serious Business

From 'Star Wars,' to pagodas, to Miyazaki characters, see the super-sized sculptures of the Sapporo Snow Festival.
February 9, 2015, 10:15pm
Image © Lucasfilm Ltd., via

The 66th annual Sapporo Snow Festival incited a media flurry with its completion of a 49' high, 3,500 ton Darth Vader sculpture earlier this week. Although the snowy Sith Lord may have stolen the limelight for the moment, much more is in store for Sapporo’s weeklong ice and snow sculpture showcase. Now in its 66th year, the festival includes over 200 works which have kept Japan’s Self-Defence Forces carving for over a month.


Some of the most incredible productions for this year's show include three large-scale architectural models and one magical castle: Taiwan’s Xingtian Temple, the Philippines Manila Cathedral, and UNESCO World Heritage site Kasuga Grand Shrine in Japan. Recreated with painstaking detail and accuracy to tower icily above the festival’s well-bundled aficionados, they are matched only by the fourth monument, equal in stature, although with a slightly sillier aesthetic: the the Town of Toys. According to the festival's organizers, it's “a place where a person of any age can feel happiness and return to the innocence of a child’s mind.”

Ogle from afar at the Self-Defence Forces’ wintry masterpieces in Sapporo’s Odori Park, Community Dome Tsudome, and Susukino’s main street below:

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 Lucasfilm Ltd., via

Image via

UNESCO Building, via

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Image via

Image via

The Sapporo Snow Festival runs from February 5th until February 11th. Click here to learn more.


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