5 Reasons to Travel to Japan in Winter   冬でも楽しい日本

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Snow and hot spring, contrast typical of Japanese onsen.

Snow and hot springs, a contrast typical of Japanese onsen.

Cold Beauty

From December to March, Japan doesn't hibernate: between the many festivals and the clear, bright days, winter is a great time to visit. 

The majority of travelers choose fall or spring to visit Japan, however there are some great benefits to visiting Japan in winter:

The prices

Prices of air tickets as well as hotel and ryokan accommodation during this period can be a lot cheaper, especially when booked in advance. A bonus for travelers who are traveling to Japan on a budget.

Fewer crowds

In fall and spring some tourist sites can be crowded with visitors, which doesn't happen during the winter months. Districts like Asakusa in Tokyo or Gion in Kyoto can be enjoyed without the usual large crowds.  


The average winter temperature varies greatly between the north and south of the Japanese archipelago. While it can get very cold in Hokkaido, it is generally between 0°C and 15°C in the Tokyo and Kyoto regions, while regions in the south such as Shikoku and Kyushu are even milder.  

Winter in Japan is also generally dry and sunny: it is, for example, the best time of year to admire Mount Fuji, while the rest of the year it's almost always covered by clouds.

It often snows, but without grinding the country to a halt, and to the delight of winter sport lovers there are many ski resorts throughout Japan, mainly in the Japanese Alps or Hokkaido, which both have a reputation of having some of the most beautiful ski slopes in Japan.

The onsen

The Japanese are very attached to their winter comforts when the first frosts arrive: heated tables with in-built blankets, called kotatsu, steaming teas and seasonal cuisine like sukiyaki.

But one of the winter activities you must try is bathing in an outdoor onsen - rotenburo - relaxing in the hot water while snow falls gently around you is a truly unforgettable experience.

The charm of the season

Snow, blue skies, clear and sunny weather, fewer visitors: winter is perhaps one of the best times to visit Japan and admire its most beautiful sites, dusted with a light layer of snow, or participate in one of the numerous festivals organized to celebrate the winter - the most famous remains the Sapporo Snow Festival and the festivals held to welcome in the New Year. 

Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto in winter

Mt Fuji topped with snow in winter

Snowy Kenrokuen garden, Kanazawa

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