Sapporo, UNESCO City of Media Arts


Sapporo, blessed by Snow

Sapporo offers an abundance of natural beauty that shines through in each of the four seasons.

The city also provides a convenient urban infrastructure which helps to stimulate and foster a sense of creativity among both city dwellers and visitors alike.

The city ’s forefathers braved harsh and difficult conditions in order to build the city.

They deliberately incorporated aspects of cultures from outside Japan during this process, and this in turn brought about a tolerance of diverse cultures and helped create a progressive urban spirit accepting of new things and new challenges, without being restricted to the comfort zone of the conservative and familiar.

The roots of the “Creative City Sapporo” concept can be found through the transformation of snow into an Art form. The Sapporo Snow Festival was inaugurated more than 60 years ago when local students devised a unique way of enjoying the huge annual snowfalls with which the city has to contend which, until the onset of the Festival, had simply been tolerated as a chilling nuisance that went hand-in-hand with city life in the depths of winter. Today, the festival attracts some 2 million people who marvel at the colossal sculptures that are fashioned from snow. In recent years, these colossal ice and snow sculptures are given a new appeal with video mapping.

In this manner, and by acting as a medium in itself, Sapporo has been very closely alert to changes in social trends. It is bravely and boldly tackling new challenges, acting as a magnet for attracting people, products, and information from within Japan and from all around the world, thereby constantly reinforcing its attractive image and its vibrant vitality as a truly cosmopolitan city.





Sapporo, the city that speaks in the language of smiles.  l「笑顔になれる街」さっぽろ

SNOW MIKU”and a winter streetcar wrapped up in her illustration.  l  雪ミクと雪ミク電車(冬期運行)

The City is the Media

The unique feature of Sapporo, UNESCO City of Media Arts, is that the city presents itself as an attractive media outlet. The city centre has become an ideal venue for urban festivities and expresses Sapporoites’ creativity throughout the year. Because of the heavy snowfall and bitter winter cold, the heart of the city is linked by underground passageways which are used in a creative way. These passageways form a network for various cultural activities that include a Sapporo Odori 500-m Underground Walkway Gallery and public media spaces containing large displays. In 2017, the city hosted the second Sapporo International Art Festival and the first fully-fledged No Maps, an international convention for creative business.


メディアアーツ都市・札幌の特徴は、都市自体をメディアとして魅力を発信していることです。都心部は年間を通じて市民の創造性が表現される都市型祝祭空間となっており、札幌の積雪寒冷という地域特性から、地下空間も創造的に活用されています。札幌大通地下ギャラリー500m美術館や大型ディスプレイを設置した公共メディア空間が整備され、文化的活動の連続性を創り出すネットワークが形成されています。2017年には、2回目の札幌国際芸術祭や、本格開催となるNo Maps(クリエイティブビジネスの国際コンベンション)が開催されました。

Sapporo YUKITERRACE 2016 at Sapporo Kita 3-jo Plaza“Akapla” Photo by Yoshisato KOMAKI  l さっぽろユキテラス 2016札幌市北 3条広場“アカプラ”

Projection mapping on the large snow sculpture, 64th Sapporo Snow Festival at Odori Park  l さっぽろ雪まつり(プロジェクションマッピング)

YOSAKOI Soran Festival   l  YOSAKOI ソーラン祭り

Sapporo August Festival at Sapporo Kita 3-jo Plaza“ Akapla”SIAF 2017 Pre-Event)さっぽろ八月祭(札幌国際芸術祭 2017 プレイベント)  Photo by HARE-BARE SHA-SHINN©harebare_photograph

Sapporo Ekimae-dori Underground Walkway  l  札幌駅前通地下歩行空間

Inter-cross Creative Center (ICC) – working to cultivate creators and support new industry creation



Hatsune Miku originated in Sapporo



No Maps -an international convention where the three creative highways of film, music and interactive media intersect

「映画」「音楽」「インタラクティブ」3つのコンテンツを軸に、相互にクロスするコンテンツミックス型コンベンション「No Maps

Outdoor stage at Sapporo Art Park, which hosts the Pacific Music Festival (PMF) originally created by Leonard Bernstein ©PMF Organizing Committee   


Sapporo Pirka Kotan̶an interactive museum in which to experience the history, culture and arts of the Ainu, the indigenous people of northern Japan 


Keizo Kioku

Ryuichi Sakamoto + Daito Manabe Sensing Streems-invisible,inaudible, 2014

Installation view at Sapporo International Art Festival 2014


坂本龍一+ 真鍋大度≪センシング・ストリームズ不可視、不可聴≫2014

An international destination for winter sports and a creative northern city all in one

In 1972, Sapporo became the first city in Asia to host the Winter Olympics and since then it has developed into an international hub for winter sports in Asia, bringing with it the atmosphere of a truly cosmopolitan city. In the years since those first Winter Games the city has held countless international competitions using the fine powder snow that falls there and a wealth of winter sports

facilities, cultivating the“ spirit of hospitality”of its people in the process. “Creative City Sapporo” is now aiming to become an international winter sports centre through its hosting of the Eighth Asian Winter Games and the IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup in 2017.




Sapporo is a city truly in harmony with nature. It has a population of some two million people who choose to live in location where the annual snowfall exceeds five metres. A culture of enjoying the snow is strongly ingrained in the city while its well-developed social infrastructure ensures easy movement and access for all. The city is blessed with an abundance of tourism resources, including gourmet eating, wonderful natural landscapes and holds a variety of events which together annually attract some 15 million visitors from Japan and around the world. Sapporo has also become one of Japan ’s most prominent IT centres. In November 2013, Sapporo was designated as Asia’s first Media Arts City.






(札幌市公式観光サイト ようこそさっぽろ)

(札幌市広報部YouTubeアカウント シネマティックシティサッポロ プレイリスト)

(Sapporo Official Tourism Website “Welcome to SAPPORO” (English) / 札幌市公式観光サイトようこそさっぽろ 英語版)

(札幌市公式観光サイト ようこそさっぽろ韓国語・中国語・タイ語・インドネシア語対応)