Sunday, February 10, 2008

Yuki Matsuri (Snow Festival) in Sapporo

What a wonderful weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The participants: Me, Meg, Chas and Becca (2 Aussies and 2 Americans)

We started by taking a plane to Sapporo from Haneda airport in Tokyo on the Thursday night.

Friday was the day for the Sapporo Brewery. Chasna was very excited. She is as Aussie as they come. Her language and beer drinking skills are spot on occa (is that how you spelt it?)

Meg and i navigated our way to the brewery. Chas and Becca were just crusing and nearly went the wrong way, had i not stopped them on the train platform. So after a train ride and a walk we stumbled across a park with a huge mound of snow in it. We just thought it was heaped up snow till be got around the other side. And it was a slide. What fun that was.......Chas and i decided to go down it with our arms locked. That was a mistake. I got stuck in one of the small grooves in the ice and ended up going down on my side behind Chas as she still held onto me. BUT it was so fun. There was so much snow around. Much more than in Saitama where i live. And we slipped around quite abit. No one fell over till after lunch but that is a story for later. We also stumbled upon the Winnie the Pooh snowman and the Kitty snowman in the photo above this. Winnie was awesome.

When we finally made it to the brewery, we took some photos and decided to head inside as it was snowing quite abit by then. I was also hungry and wanted to get the museum over and done with so that the eating could begin. And Chas just wanted a beer. The strange thing about the building was that it reminded me of Auschwitz. It had a chimmney which probably didnt help. But later in the museum i found out that the founder of the brewery went to Germany and was so impressed with the beer came back and started his own brewery. He introduced beer to Japan. Thus the reason why the buildings look European. I still cant get over how much it looked like Auschwitz though.

I found the museum to be abit boring but the others were having a good look so i just hung out in the warm. Chas and I had abit of a laugh cause the attendents were dressed in clothes that were the pattern of the David Jones logo. They could have worked there in these clothes.

Then came lunch. It was so good. Chas cant eat beef because of her religion and Megs is a vego. So we went to a Yakiniku (BBQ plate in middle of table) This happened to also be the beer garden at the brewery. And they had the best lamb ever. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Chas got all you can drink for 1 hour and 40 mins and she made good use of it. The other two had a couple beers as well but i stuck to the water as i was on cold and flu medication. And i didnt think the ice and a drunk Tubby would have been a good idea. We also had some of the famous ice cream. Hokkaido is known for its milk and butter, lamb and seafood. So the ice cream we had was so creamy that i had to have two serves.

Then we headed off the buy some souvenirs. As soon as Chas walked out of the beer garden after her 5th beer she slipped on the ice and had to be picked up by Becca. It was very funny.

Oh and i should mention that on our way from the museum to the beer garden we found an igloo. Which was so cool. Many photos were taken and it was so awesome for this desert chick to go inside an igloo. There was also another slide. Not as high this time but still long. Meg and Becca decided to have a go and seemed to have fun.

Then it was off to the giant ferris wheel. Which happened to be on top of a building. You had to go up to the 7th floor and then get on it. It was quite strange and not something i had ever seen before. It was good and the lights were nice.

Next, we headed to the Yuki Matsuri. The whole reason we had come to Sapporo. It was so awesome. There were snow sculptures that were as high as a three story building. One of them was based on the new Narnia movie - Prince Caspian. Another was the Valley of the Kings because it is the year of exchange between Egypt and Japan. This one was awesome. And another had a giant mammoth on it.

The ice sculptures were amazing as well. They were all lit up in different colours. Such amazing detail. I loved the peacock and turtle that were on a street right near our hotel. And at Odori Koen (park) there was a leopard that was so great. The atmosphere was really good too and there were lots of smaller snow sculptures that we could take a photo with. I liked the Thomas the Tank Engine and a wonderful one of three elephants.

Then we headed back to the hotel. Chas went to a dance party and we all went to bed.

Saturday was another interesting day. Meg and Becca set off early for an Onsen that was about one hour away. This was Meg's main thing that she wanted to do. Chas and i slept in and then checked out of the hotel. Then headed to get some nice breaky or lunch as it turned out cause it was so late. Then we wandered around the Susukino area for awhile and looked at the ice sculptures in the area. There was a whole street of them including little ice buidings where companies has set up to advertise their products. We also went on the ferris wheel again. Which was much better than at night becuase we could see the hills surrounding Sapporo. All snow capped. Chas got very excited. And it was a very nice view.

Then we headed back to Odori Koen where the main festival was. We wandered around looking at all the sculptures again. And unlike on friday night, we could barely move there were so many people. We took some quite amusing photos of ourselves which i will post. Then it was dinner and back on the plane to Tokyo.

The pathways were lit with these candles. They were decorated by school students in Sapporo. It was really beautiful. Chas took the photo of me in the snow surrounded by candles and just as i lay down to have the photo taken i vibrated. It was my mobile phone but it was quite a strange sensation lying on the snow and vibrating. I was abit confused for a second.

Oh i forgot to mention that we didnt see the other two girls all day cause they got all the way back to Sapporo from the Onsen (1 hour away) and Becca left her wallet behind. So they spent the whole day on buses. Poor them. We met up at the airport where Chas and I nearly missed our flight cause we were running so late.

It was a really awesome couple of days. Great laughs and lots of great things to see. So different to anything i had ever seen before and so different to the red desert of Alice Springs.

Here are the links to the rest of my photos: (there are four links but cant get them to separate)

1 comment:

Angela said...

Hi..I'm Thai people ,nice to meet you. & I like Snow Festival . Unseen ......Wow..^______^*