Photo/IllutrationTourists take pictures of a large snow relief of a scene from the "Final Fantasy XIV" video game at the Sapporo Snow Festival on Feb. 5. (Takayuki Kakuno)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

SAPPORO--The 69th Sapporo Snow Festival opened here Feb. 5.

About 200 snow and ice sculptures are on show and this year’s number of visitors is expected to slide through the 2.643-million mark, which was the record attendance set in 2017.

The spectacular exhibits are on display at three open-air venues in Hokkaido's biggest city and the event runs through Feb. 12.

The main venue is Odori Park where a faithful reproduction in snow of the main hall of Yakushiji temple in Nara, a UNESCO World Heritage site, stands 11 meters tall.

Highlights also include a large relief of a scene from the "Final Fantasy XIV" videogame, cartoon characters by manga legend Osamu Tezuka, and a frozen statue of high school baseball hero Kotaro Kiyomiya, who joined the local Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters last year.

Projection mapping will also show on some sculptures to give the festival a sparkling illumination.