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Most prominent snow festivals in Northeast Asia

by Victoria

In the frigid zones, people are always looking forward to the arrival of icy weather, filling their land with pure white. The moment the water freezes is when the festival opens jubilantly, with winter sports such as dog sled racing, skiing, fishing … to art forms such as dancing or ice sculpture. 

Winter in Northeast Asia is freezing but there are many festivals with many attractive activities. Let’s explore these three extremely popular snow festivals in Japan, Korea and China that promise to fascinate any visitor!

1. Visit Japan to attend the Sapporo Snow Festival

Taking place in Sapporo, the capital of the Hokkaido island, the Sapporo Snow Festival 2020 takes place from February 4 to 11, 2020. This festival is not as world famous as its friend – Sapporo beer. Each time, only about two million people flock here to enjoy and admire the works carved out of ice and snow.

The giant sculptures, some up to 15m high and 25m long by 5-storey apartment buildings, always make visitors very surprised. The world of ice and snow in the movie Frozen is far behind in this scene. The theme of sculpture changes each year, but the works always get ideas from famous people or structures.

The largest Odori area is the display of giant works. The Tsudome area is primarily for families and winter sports, while the smallest Susukino is the site of a sculpture competition. Each team consisted of three people, from all over the world. They have three days to cover their work with snow. Step into the daytime world of ice and snow, remember to always wear sunglasses, because the dazzling white color will make your eyes hurt. At night, the scenery changed completely. The sculptures become sparkling and magical under colorful light.

2. The surreal ice world in Harbin, China

Do you have the courage to withstand the cold of minus 10 Celsius? If so, invite you to Harbin Ice & Snow Festival in northeastern China. An estimated 10 million people come to this festival.

Every time it gets crowded, this city creates unique wonders. You will enter the Colosseum ancient Roman arena built of giant ice cubes. The old rock, the interior is hollow to place the lights, forming dazzling masses of light under the dome of the winter sky.

Harbin Ice & Snow Festival is the largest ice and snow festival in the world, lasting two months since January 5th. This festival has 400 years of history, since the Qing Dynasty. The Songhua River froze from November to March next year. People cut the perforated river ice and put candles in it to make lanterns. Such a custom has formed a festival in Harbin, with ice structures worth many millions of dollars.

In particular, there is also an ice bath contest. People drilled a hole through the frozen ice to form a small pond, the water was usually about 2 degrees Celsius. The indigenous people bravely stripped naked and jumped into the water hole, testing the cold of their bodies. They believe this ritual enhances blood circulation as well as mental sharpness.

3. Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival in Korea

If Harbin and Sapporo show off magnificent and beautiful ice buildings, Hwacheon Sancheoneo is different, it is an interesting winter entertainment. From Seoul, you can sign up for this festival tour. After three hours by car, you arrive at Hwacheon. It will be an enjoyable day with games like ice skating, soccer kicking, or ice fishing.

Tourists, old or young, big or small, enjoy ice fishing. Before entering the fishing area, you play a game of snowboarding. Then you enter the fishing area. On the surface of the hard ice, holes were made scatteredly. You just need to plug the fishing rod down, take a long time to lift the float, and wait patiently. If you’re lucky enough to catch fish, just bring them straight to a nearby restaurant. The chef will make the dishes for you. That is the hobby of fishing in Hwacheon.

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