A 1st Timers Guide to the Sapporo Winter Festival in Japan

Want to experience how winter feels like? Allow me to share with you my 1st ever winter experience in Sapporo City in Hokkaido Japan, when I attended this year’s Sapporo Snow Festival 2017.

Sapporo Snow Festival Japan Mae Ilagan (41 of 55)

Sapporo City, the capital of Hokkaido (northern Japan) is where the Sapporo Snow Festival is held every year in February. Tourists from across the globe, visit Sapporo to witness this grand winter event. And since Japan is roughly 4 hrs away from Manila, there’s really no reason, why we shouldn’t visit Japan more often. You see, If you like Tokyo, Osaka etc, then I’m sure you’ll also LOVE Sapporo a lot. In fact, during our recent trip, I realized that there’s soooo much more to love about Sapporo aside from their annual snow festival, since there are countless things to see and experience all year round. 

What to Wear

Ok ok, before I tell you all about my trip, I figured it would be best to also share with you, on how to prepare for winter. I’m not a pro on this, but I believe that layering is key, in surviving winter… so you really have to plan your outfits ahead. Here’s what you need….


  1. Thermal underwear: Get the “HEAT TECH” that’s “EXTRA WARM” from Uniqlo (long sleeves). Buy around 1 or 2 sets of top and pants (costs is around 900 each). I know it’s costly, so I suggest you buy 1 set, then go to the nearest Uniqlo store when you arrive in Japan, coz it costs half the price.
  2. Fleece scarf / neck warmer:  You can buy these in Columbia or Terranova, but I suggest you buy them when you arrive in Japan, as all their convenience stores sell this. It’s cheaper too if you convert in peso.
  3. Winter Gloves: I bought winter gloves that can be used for touchscreen in Greenhills (priced at 400php) however, for some weird reason, it didn’t work when I arrived in Japan. So again, good thing their convenience stores sell good quality winter gloves.
  4. Earmuffs: Believe me, you’ll be needing this a lot! You may buy this in Greenhills or also in Japan.
  5. Winter boots: Be sure to wear comfy winter boots that’s water resistant, so your feet will be protected from snow. I bought mine at Butterfly Twists for 3k++. Buy a leg warmer as well in Greenhills.
  6. Winter hat/ Beanie: you may buy these at Marks and Spencers, Terranova, Surplus Shop or in your trusted neighborhood Ukay Ukay.
  7. Winter Jacket: DO NOT BUY an expensive winter jacket here in Manila! Buy at your favorite Ukay-ukay or go to Baguio. I bought mine for only 250php at an Ukay Ukay shop near Burham Park, in Baguio. I was also able to buy a pair of winter boots there for only 600php.
  8. Sweater: After wearing your thermal undergarments, a fleece sweater is ideal as your 2nd layer. For good quality sweaters, wait for the Terranova winter sale, so you can get them at over 50% off, or if you have budget, buy at Uniqlo.

Oh, before I forget, be sure to bring your own mobile 4G wifi when going to Japan, since data sim card prices are quite expensive. To avoid hassles in staying connected whenever abroad, I always make it a point to rent a mobile wifi from Flytpack. It costs less than the usual roaming services and the battery life lasts over a day. It’s also super convenient to get one, since they will deliver the unit right at your doorstep, then pick it up again, after arriving back to Manila. Visit www.flytpack.com for full details.


How to Get to Sapporo

We went there via Philippine Airlines (Manila to Haneda, Tokyo). The plane ride took around 4hrs then, another 1 hour plane ride (ANA) from Tokyo to Sapporo.

More stories about the Sapporo Winter Festival on the next page….

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