tIt's that time of year again, when awesome snow sculptures pop up all over Japan. Hit by the season's first heavy snowfall, snow sculpture enthusiasts put on their gloves and got to doing what they love, creating some very merry snow sculptures that have now become synonymous with the Japanese winter season.

Just a few years ago, unique and original snow sculptures started popping up in Japan, always the day after a heavy snowfall. Pretty soon, the sculptors themselves and impressed passers-by all over the country were sharing their photos of the impressive snow figures on their social media accounts, and a little trend was born. And now, it has become not just a special hobby or pastime, but an art. The snowy sculptures have become more and more detailed, elaborate, and expressive, and many in Japan have been waiting for that time to come again.

At the end of last week, the prayers of the artists and fans of the snow-sculpture world were answered, as much of Japan was hit with heavy snowfall on what was the country's coldest day of the winter. Cancelling flights and making travel and commutes inconvenient for millions of Japanese, snow sculptors were eagerly waiting for there to be just enough snow to build their new creations. Once everything was covered in white, the artists got to work. 

As you can see in the photos below, the works are very uniquely Japanese, and pretty awesome. Snow may not be for everyone in Japan, but we know about the ones who just can't wait for it to fall.

Totoro looks cold!

Ohmu from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Spirited Away's No Face

Pikachu!

Blastoise from Pokémon

Baymax in the house

Japanese Minions

What would Japan be without Godzilla?

The man of the hour, Piko Taro!