Sapporo Snow Festival kicks off

The annual snow festival is underway in the northern Japanese city of Sapporo. The event is one of Hokkaido Prefecture's main winter attractions.

The opening was declared on Sunday in front of a snow sculpture of the city's former train station, "Sapporo Teishaba."

About 200 snow and ice sculptures are on display at three venues. Five of them are over 10 meters tall.

One depicts the new stadium of the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters pro baseball team and the team's manager, Shinjo Tsuyoshi.

Another recreates the characters of a Japanese manga series, "Golden Kamuy," which takes place in Hokkaido during the early 20th century.

A woman who came from Tokyo with her family said she had been looking forward to this day, and the sculptures are spectacular.

A man from Osaka said he was visiting Sapporo on behalf of his wife who wanted to see the festival but died two years ago.

He said he wants to take time to view the sculptures.

The festival will run through February 11.