Around 20 9years ago, I traveled from Okinawa to Hokkaido for the annual Yuki Matsuri, or Snow Festival. With the freezing cold weather (I had requested to be placed in Hokkaido during my JET Program interview but ended up in the southernmost part of Japan), amazing food, and giant ice sculptures, my memories of Sapporo were magical.
So I decided to book a trip to the Snow Festival for my husband and I to relive the magic. Now 20 years ago, the organizers of the trip had inside knowledge of how to make the airfare and hotel a little more affordable: go a week early. By then, the sculptures were complete and it wasn’t nearly as crowed as it would be during the festival. Sure, the festival activities and food stands wouldn’t be running, but the city had so much to do, it wouldn’t be a problem.
Fast forward two decades later. I planned our trip to take place the week before the actual festival happened. Smart, right? Nope! Thanks to decreased support from volunteers and global warming, the giant ice sculptures weren’t ready by the time we got to Hokkaido. Instead of marveling at a giant Hello Kitty ice sculpture onsen-ing in a ramen bowl, we just saw lot after empty log.
The good news is that there was lots to do and it wasn’t too crowded. As it was my husband’s first time in Sapporo, we still had a blast going to the Sapporo Beer Factory and Ishiya Chocolate Factor. We were able to eat unbelievable ramen that warmed our bellies in 25°F weather.
On a side note, I was 3 months pregnant so I didn’t drink alcohol and I had pretty bad morning sickness. And I caught a cold towards the end of the trip, which was terrifying since COVID-19 was making its way throughout Asia. But overall, the trip was still so much fun and actually turned out to be a babymoon. Here are a few highlights of our trip!