SAPPORO--Tourists and locals bundled in mittens and scarves crowded the streets of central Sapporo on Feb. 6 as the 63rd Sapporo Snow Festival got under way.
One of the biggest attractions in Hokkaido during the winter season, this year's snow festival features 228 snow statues and ice sculptures spread across three venues, including Odori Park in the central part of the city.
Many of the sculptures were related to the Tohoku region, which was devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake last year.
One snow sculpture was of Tsurugajo castle--a popular sightseeing spot in Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture. The structure, whose creators included children from the city, is one-third scale of the original castle.
The festival is scheduled to run until Feb. 12.
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