• Kyodo


The 69th Sapporo Snow Festival launched on Monday with some 200 snow and ice sculptures on display, including one of a famous manga hero.

More than 2 million people are expected to attend weeklong event, which is held in three venues in Hokkaido’s capital.

In commemoration of what would have been legendary cartoonist Osamu Tezuka’s 90th birthday, a sculpture of his Astro Boy character is featured along with other ice exhibits, including Yakushiji Temple, one of Nara’s most iconic Buddhist structures. The Yakushiji sculpture will be used as a canvas for a projection mapping show each night of the festival.

Also among the exhibits at the main Odori site are smaller statues of much-discussed Nippon Ham Fighters’ rookie Kotaro Kiyomiya and popular comedian Blouson Chiemi.

The Tsudome site, the festival’s second-largest exhibition area, opened on Thursday and has been drawing visitors to its large snow slide. The event at the Susukino site will begin Monday evening, showcasing icy displays of frozen fish.

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