A scaled back Sapporo Snow Festival opened online Thursday, revealing the four ice statutes featured in this year's coronavirus pandemic-hit event, normally one of Japan's largest winter celebrations.
Held in the capital of Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido, the festival normally features approximately 200 ice sculptures.
But this year, for the first time since its inception in 1950, it will be much smaller and will not bring people together in the center of the city, instead locating the exhibitions in the suburbs.
The organizers of the festival will post photos and videos on the website through Feb. 28 showing how the sculptures were created and providing historical information about the event.
Some photos show the sculpting of the four snow statues located around the city, including one of popular virtual singer Hatsune Miku and another of Dr. William Smith Clark, an American educator who helped found Sapporo Agricultural School in the Meiji Era (1868-1912).
Clark's bronze statue is a well-known tourist spot in Sapporo.
Visitors to the website can also watch videos to learn about past festivals dating back to the 1950s.
Hokkaido has become an increasingly popular destination for overseas travelers and the snow festival attracted a record 2.74 million visitors in 2019. The number fell to 2.02 million last year amid fears over the then-emerging coronavirus.
The website is available in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese at https://online.snowfes.com/