In February of each year, epic snowball battles take place at the foot of Showa Shinzan (昭和新山) in Hokkaido.
Even the most frequent travelers to Hokkaido might not know about Yukigassen 雪合戦; an exciting sporting event with a festival atmosphere that’s fun for all ages.
The sport of Yukigassen (meaning snow battle) originated in Hokkaido; and has now reached various parts of the world.
The game involves to 2 opposing teams of 7 players fighting to win a match by eliminating the most number of players in the opposing team with direct snowball hits or by capturing the other team’s flag.
This game began in the town of Sobetsu, Hokkaido with the inaugural tournament in 1989. Since then, it has spread throughout Japan and to countries such as Canada, Alaska, Finland, and Russia.
Qualifying tournaments are held around the world for teams to earn a spot in the Yukigassen International Championship in Hokkaido.
2016 marks the 28th annual International Yukigassen Championship held at Showa Shinsan 昭和新山 (a well known tourist spot near the famous Toyako Onsen area 洞爺湖). This year, 130+ teams qualified and competed in the 2-day world championship this year; including 2 teams from Canada.
Why not try to catch the action the next time you visit the Hokkaido winter wonderland!