The Sapporo Ice Festival in the Red-Light District of Sapporo Japan
The Sapporo Ice Festival in Susukino is one of the three sites of the Sapporo Snow Festival where you can see hand carved ice sculptures (as opposed to the giant snow sculptures at the Odori Park site) down the bustling streets of the city's red-light district, and is a fun winter Japan festivals.
The third festival site was established in 1983 and every year a female beauty contest known as the Susukino Queen of Ice is held here.
Here is a photo of two of the contestants among the hundreds of entrants from the Susukino area.
The Sapporo Ice Festival kicks off on February 7th until the 13th.
Susukino is a red-light district located in Chuo-ku, Sapporo Japan and is one of the biggest red-light districts in Japan along with Kabukicho in Tokyo. The name Susukino directly translates as "Zebra grass field".
The Susukino Tourist Association defines the area as being located between South 4 and South 6, and from West 2 to West 6.
The main area is at the Susukino Crossing which is also a regular meeting spot, where you can see male hosts hanging out to bring punters to their bars, and is where the Sapporo Ice Festival begins. It is located between West 3, South 4 with many neon signs along the street. You can't miss it.
An amazing, sparkly tunnel located at the centre of the ice festival.
Susukino originated in 1871, when the Settlement Envoyship developing Hokkaido, designated the area from south 4 south 5 to West 1 and West 4 as the red-light district.
When it was finished, the Settlement Envoyship named the area "Susukino Yukaku" (Susukino red-light district) and built other brothels into this district. One of the reasons for constructing a red-light district was to keep the workers developing Hokkaido in Sapporo.
In 1872, a 900 metre long, 1.2 metre high wall was built around the area with a gate at west 3 and West 4. In the autumn establishments with licensed prostitution was allowed by the new government thereby improving the district's economy.
During World War 2 Susukino was not an area where prostitution was permitted by the government, but it was a place where restaurants and bars illegally promoted prostitution. In 1958, The Prostitution Prevention Act was introduced, however prostitution did not completely disappear.
Even today, there are many places to go to for "entertainment", such as hostess clubs, snack bars, etc and you can always see people in the street holding out large cardboard cut outs displaying photos of half naked women to entice you into their places. Be careful though as some can be very very expensive.
There are also establishents for women and male hosts (they have big hair, very tight, camp clothes and obscenely pointed shoes) are a regular scene at the main Susukino intersection trying to pick up rich punters.
From Sapporo Station take the Namboku (green line) subway line to Susukino. It takes about 5 minutes and costs 240 yen one-way. Alternatively, it is a short walk south of Sapporo Station through Odori Park and takes about 20 minutes.