Temperatures in Japan's northern city of Sapporo — famous for skiing — on Monday passed 25 degrees Celsius at the earliest point of any year on record, a weather agency official said.

Sapporo, the main city on the island of Hokkaido, hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics, and each February holds a snow festival where massive ice sculptures draw tens of thousands of visitors.

"The temperature in Sapporo hit 26 degrees ... and is still rising," Shuichi Yoshida, an official at the regional headquarters of the Meteorological Agency, said in the early afternoon.