The Sapporo snow festival was pretty good. There was lots of delicious food stalls, information booths, and I even signed a petition calling for the return of Japan's "northern territories" (the Kurril islands) and got a pack of toilet paper in return.

The only thing that was a slight disappointment was the snow sculptures themselves. They were very big, such as the Taj Mahal, and some of them had an impressive amount of detail, such as the Hirosaki castle, but although there was one section for original works from around the world, and also a castle sculpture inspired by a drawing by Fukushima schoolchildren IIRC, 90% of the works were depictions of Japanese or western popular culture figures. It wasn't very original. The ice sculptures nearby weren't too bad, but also were much of a muchness.

Unless I'm the only person disappointed by the festival, are there any suggestions for festivals that'd look more like what a bunch of schoolkids would create?

  • But only festivals in Japan right? – hippietrail Feb 17 '12 at 11:57
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    I've twice been to Harbin snow and ice festival. flickr.com/photos/derekharkness/sets/72157613106185877 However it is also as you say big scuptures of popular and classical culture. The smaller competition pieces in Sun Park do tend to be quite creative. – Rincewind42 Feb 18 '12 at 3:42
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    @hippietrail: like ski jumping, Japan preferred but other locations are ok. – Andrew Grimm Feb 18 '12 at 13:39
  • @AndrewGrimm: since you have tagged the question as Japan I think you've not made it clear that suggestions outside Japan are OK. My advice is either remove that tag because it's tangential or state clearly in the question body that you're not just looking for festivals in Japan. – hippietrail Feb 18 '12 at 14:35
  • I managed to find this snow festival, which is held bienially (every year ending in an odd number). soleica.ca/snowFestival – Edwin Feb 24 '12 at 23:17

Fortunately the wonderful world of Wikipedia can help out here.

  • Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
  • Sapporo Snow Festival (which you went to)
  • World Ice Art Championships
  • International Snow and Ice Sculpture Festival
  • Snowking Winter Festival

  • International Ice Sculpture Contest "Polar Rhapsody", Salekhard, Russia

  • Italian Ice Carving Championship
  • International Snow and Ice Sculpture Championships "Europe - Asia", Ekaterinburg, Russia
  • Concours International de Sculpture sur Glace, Valloire, France
  • International Ice Sculpture Contest "Ice Fantasy", Khabarovsk, Russia
  • International Ice Sculpture Contest, Korkeasaari, Helsinki, Finland
  • International Ice Sculpture Festival, Jelgava, Latvia
  • Karuizawa Winter Festival - Ice Sculpting International Exhibition, Karuizawa, Japan
  • Crystal Garden International Ice Carving Competition, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • 2004 World Ice Sculpture Competition, Asahikawa, Japan
  • International Ice Sculpture Contest, St.Petersburg, Russia
  • Blue Ice Art Cup 2004, Pello, Lapland, Finland
  • International Ice Sculpture Competition, Vaasa, Finland
  • International Ice Sculpture Competition, ICE ART 2004, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA
  • Michigan Technological University's Winter Carnival, Houghton, Michigan, USA
  • Ice on Whyte, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    May I suggest carnaval.qc.ca/en/about/history, the largest winter festival in the world? Ice sculptures, ice hotel, canoe races on mostly frozen water, and a touch of Mardi Gras to top it off! – Kate Gregory May 2 '14 at 11:30

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