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Edited by: Declan Murphy
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Sapporo Snow Festival - Makomanai

JGSDF officer with cellphone camera
JGSDF officer taking photo of sculpture with cellphone camera
The Makomanai site was one of the 3 main sites of the Sapporo Snow Festival from 1955 to 2005. A military base of the JGSDF, it usually hosted enormous snow sculptures and snow and ice slides for children and was popular because of the easy access from the Jietaimae station on the Sapporo City subway. From 2002, security checks were required at the gates of the base, but were never intrusive. With the involvement of the JGSDF in an increasing number of operations outside Japan including Iraq, it was decided to reduce the role of the military in the festival and replace the base with another site.

The involvement of the JGSDF in the festival is what turned a small community initiative into a major event. Making snow sculptures proved to be an excellent team work building exercise and a good way to test the leadership, problem solving skills and initiative of junior officers & NCO's. JGSDF soldiers continue to be involved in the construction of sculptures at the Odori Koen site, and provide technical advice at the new Satorando site. The military also provide logistical muscle, for example trucking snow to the Odori Koen site if snowfalls have been insufficient in the leadup to the festival.

At Makomanai the emphasis was always more on fun than on art. This is not to say that the works are not artistic - they are magnificient - but more to say that these art works are more likely to have slides and be designed for kids. Failure could never be contemplated - there were simply too many children demanding excellent snow slides! Click on any photo to enlarge.

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Snowman sentries
 
Families arriving
 
JSDF support
 
Play with Shimajirou!
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Concert stage
 
Crayon Shin-chan
 
Super slides
 
Hokkaido exhibit
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Shaded slides
 
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Speed thrills
 
Panorama

Study in Sapporo - It is now possible to study Japanese in Sapporo either during the Sapporo Winter Japanese Course or the Sapporo Summer Japanese Program, including Study Tours.
Click here for more information regarding studying Japanese in Sapporo.

Tours - Japan Discovery visits the Sapporo Snow Festival.
Click here for more information regarding when Discovery visits this destination.

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