Odori Park Winter White Illumination, Christmas Market, Snow Festival
One of the highlights we wanted to see in Sapporo was the White Illumination event in Sapporo in the winter. Odori Park, which is a whole12-block stretch of park that serves as a central landmark of Sapporo, is lit up using thousands of light bulbs every year during winter. More than 30 years ago, it was one location inside Odori Park and 1000 bulbs. Today, it's said to be hundreds of thousands and in 3 different areas in Sapporo. The TV Tower in Odori Park is lighted up, trees are lighted up and artistic structures are set up, including a representation of milky way on a white blanket of snow. You can go up the TV Tower to get a view from the top, or alternatively, a bit further out at the nearby JR Station Tower Observatory.
The White Illumination is held from November to February, but the central Odori Park is only lighted up until Dec 25 for this year. Our local guide said it was to save energy and respect to the recent Tsunami tragedy.
Every year, there is a German Christmas market. Unfortunately, we missed this as we arrived in Sapporo on the last day of the event. I love the European Christmas markets and it's a pity.
If you are in Sapporo in February, the famous Snow Festival is on, where large and small sculptures made of snow are on exhibit, very similar to the snow sculptures, popularly known worldwide, in Harbin, China.
And during spring, Odori Park is a great place for enjoying the famous Cherry Blossoms.