In snowy regions such as Hokkaido or Tohoku, snow festivals are held, and the best of all snow festivals in terms of publicity and scale is the Sapporo Snow Festival. Snow statues are made by piling up and carving out snow, varying in size from large statues over 15m to small statues with a height of about 2m, and they are very impressive. The festival attracts over 2,000,000 visitors as an international event with participants from other countries as well.
Sapporo in western Hokkaido is divided up in a grid pattern, and is the largest city on the island. Odori Avenue Park stretches from east to west in the center of the city, and is a symbol of the city - full of art objects, fountains, lilac and acacia plants and lots of flowerbeds. To the north stand trading companies, financial institutions and local government offices, while to the south is a large underground shopping mall, which as the city's main shopping center is always busy. It is connected directly to Sapporo Station, which is the transportation hub for all of Hokkaido and the place to board JR lines, the subway, and both local and tourist buses.
The city contains many essential sights: the Sapporo City Clock, which has been marking time for over a century; the old Hokkaido government building, a neo-baroque building known as "Red Brick" that is lit up after dark; and the poplars outside Hokkaido University (formerly Hokkaido Agricultural College).