Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival
The city of Harbin is the birthplace of China’s ice-carving art, with a 40-year history, and the scene of the country’s most famous winter festival. Ice sculptures often decorate Harbin’s streets in winter. During the festival, sculptors from around the world are invited to create and exhibit their work. This year, there will be several hundred exhibits, ranging from near life-size replicas of landmark architectural structures from around the world to dragons and other mythical figures.
Harbin Zhaolin Park, from 20 December to 28 February. Admission: 55 yuan.
Tel: +86-451-84692814 or visit www.harbin-ice.net (in Chinese only).
Shenyang International Ice and Snow Festival
This festival, which includes both snow carvings and ice sculptures, is now the largest ice-and-snow theme park in China. Last year, a highlight was a giant imperial Chinese palace that required 100,000 cu. m of snow to build. This year, there will be more than 100 snow carvings and 36 series of themed ice sculptures on display ranging from figures of mice to celebrate China’s Year of the Mouse to sporting scenes to trumpet the Beijing Summer Olympics in August.
Celebrate snow: Performers at China’s Shenyang Festival.
Shenyang Qipanshan International Scenery and Tourism Development Zone; from 8 January to 28 February. Admission: 150 yuan, weekdays; 180 yuan, weekends; or 60 yuan for one hour.
Tel: +86-24-88050627 (box office).
Sapporo Snow Festival and Susukino Ice Sculpture Festival
These two festivals take place simultaneously in the city of Sapporo on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido. The Susukino Ice Sculpture Festival features some 100 pieces of ice sculpture that range from animals to replicas of landmark buildings. There’s even a bar made of ice where you can enjoy cocktails. At the larger-scale Sapporo Snow Festival, in its 59th year, there will be 200 snow carvings, including a castle and a Buddha.
Minami 4-jo to Minami 7-jo, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi; from 5 to 11 February. Free admission. Tel: +81-11-2112376 or visit www.snowfes.com/english/index.html.
Tateshina Kogen Crystal Festival
The theme of this year’s festival, now in its 11th year, is “Harbin, China”. Among the exhibits are the old Harbin station and Harbin’s Church of St Sophia.
Shirakabako Event Hall, Shirakabako Kitayama, Chino-shi, Nagano; till 17 February, noon to 8 pm, weekdays; 10am to 9pm weekends. Admission: 600 yen, adults; 300 yen, children. Tel: +81-266-682848
Light and Ice Festival
To be held in the centre of Seoul, this new festival features some 30 ice sculptures around a temporary skating rink, made just for the season. Sculptures will include towers as tall as 10m, and several interactive pieces such as an ice slide and an igloo. There will be free ice-carving classes four times a day at City Hall plaza; participants are eligible to win a medal made of ice for their creations and a free ticket to the ice rink. Ice-carving performances will be held from 2pm to 4pm daily.
Seoul City Hall Plaza; till 20 January. Free admission. Tel: +82-2120 (press 9 for an English operator) or visit www.english.seoul.go.kr
The 16th Daegwallyeong Snow Festival
Pyeongchang, which recently failed in its bid to host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games (it went to Russia), has hosted South Korea’s largest snow festival for the past 15 years, attracting more than 185,000 visitors last year. This year’s festival will include about 60 snow sculptures. In addition, five small villages around Daegwallyeong will host various events such as dog sledding and ice fishing. Snow Festival Venue, Hoenggye-ri Daegwallyeong-myeon, Pyeongchang county, Gangwon province; from 17 to 21 January. Free admission to snow festival; prices at village events vary. Tel: +82-33-3302771 or visit www.snowfestival.net (in Korean only).
Ellen Zhu in Shanghai, Miho Inada in Tokyo and SungHa Park in Seoul contributed to this story.
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