Sapporo Snow Festival began in 1950 with the exhibition of six snow statues made by local high school and junior high school students. Events such as Yuki-gassen[雪合戦（ゆきがっせん）](snowball fight) and carnival were held at the same time and about 50,000 people visited there. At present, the festival has grown up the event which about 2 million people visit.
The snow and ice sculptures are made by Self-Defense Forces[自衛隊（じえいたい）], the staff of Sapporo City, the citizens, etc. Especially, Self-Defense Forces work as a leading role about making large-size sculptures because heavy machineries are needed and it is dangerous.
The subject of sculptures is mainly based on structure in the world, popular characters, topical theme and things related to anniversary.
The festival is held at following three sites and each site has different characteristics.
- Ōdōri[大通（おおどおり）] Site: This is held at Ōdōri Park[大通公園（おおどおりこうえん）] which is about 1.5 km long and is located on the center of the main street of Sapporo.
Ōdōri Site is the main site of the festival and large snow and ice sculptures are exhibited. That is the highlight of the festival. The sculptures are illuminated at night.
Besides the snow sculptures, skating rink, jumping platform, food stands, etc. are set up.
And International Snow Sculpture Contest is held at the site. Teams from countries and regions around the world participate in that every year.
- Susukino[すすきの] Site: Various and unique ice sculptures are exhibited at Susukino Site and those are illuminated by fantastic lights at night. And Ice Sculpture Contest is held.
- Tsudome[つどーむ] Site: Tsudome is the nickname of "Sapporo Community Dome[札幌コミュニティドーム]" which is a multi-purpose hall. The site is divided into indoor venue and outdoor venue.
At the indoor venue where is held in Tsudome, many stands and playground for kids are set up. At the outdoor venue, you can enjoy the attractions and activities such as snow slide, snow labyrinth, snow rafting, etc.