Heaviest snows in nearly a decade completely stop all train service going into or out of Sapporo Station.

As the biggest city on Japan’s northernmost prefecture, Sapporo, Hokkaido’s prefectural capital, is pretty good at rolling with the punches of winter weather, This week, though, was an exception.

On Sunday, Sapporo was hit with its heaviest snowfall in eight years. For the first time since March of 2014, the city had more than 100 centimeters (39.4 inches) of accumulated snow on the ground, with the height/depth reaching 122 centimeters, as shown in the video above from Sapporo’s Shiroi Koibito Park and below at the Former Hokkaido Government Office historical facility.

But the facility where the weather started really presenting a problem was Sapporo Station, where the flurries were so thick that visibility dropped to a white-out by the end of the block.

▼ Sapporo Station is right in the middle of downtown, with plenty of building around it that are ordinarily visible when there’s not a blizzard going on.

If you’re wondering how they got all that snow off the tracks in time for Monday morning rush hour, the answer is they didn’t. JR Hokkaido, the Hokkaido division of Japan Railways Group, was forced to suspend service for all trains scheduled to arrive at or depart from Sapporo Station on Monday, in order to give maintenance crews time to clear the tracks enough for trains to safely start running on them again.

Trains weren’t the only form of transportation to get disrupted by the snow, though, which also made bicycles…

…and cars less than viable ways of easily getting from Point A to Point B.

▼ Yes, there’s a car under all that snow.

Even for those who decided to brave the elements on foot, walking was very different in these conditions, turning a stroll down the street into a surreal adventure.


Heavy snowfall continued to be the natural enemy of Japan’s majestic vending machines

▼ A bottle of hot green tea sure would be nice, if only the coin slot wasn’t snowed in.

…and the weather also decided to torment anyone with classic tastes in communications by doing its best to bury phone booths and mailboxes.


As of Monday night, JR Hokkaido says that train service will not be restarting at its regularly scheduled weekday time on Tuesday, and that it will not be able to set a more defined timetable until sometimes later in the day, at the earliest.

Source: NHK News Web (1, 2)
Top image: Pakutaso
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