Winter in Japan : 10 Best Things to Do in 2019-2020

top things to do & places to visit in Japan 2019-2020 winter

Shirakawago Village covered in snow in winter

There are many things you can only experience during winter in Japan. From winter illuminations to bathing monkeys, here are best things to do and places to visit in winter in Japan!

1. Ski

Popular ski resort in Japan

A large number of tourists visit Japan from December to March for winter activities, mainly ski and snowboard. The most popular area is Hokkaido as there are several great ski resorts with fine quality powder snow. Also there are some ski resorts where you can easily access from Tokyo even for a day trip!

▶ 4 Best Ski Resorts in Hakuba

2. Open-Air Onsen

Onsen is much better when it’s cold, and even better outdoor. During winter, Onsen in northern area of Japan is really special as surrounding area is covered in snow and you can enjoy really beautiful scenery while bathing. Also enjoy staying at traditional Ryokan inn and hot Japanese dishes.


3. Snow Festivals

-Sapporo Snow Festival

Sapporo Snow Festival

The greatest winter festival in Japan, Sapporo Snow Festival is scheduled to be held from 31 January to 11 February in 2020. The event features spectacular snow and ice sculptures, and attracts over 2 million visitors.

2020 Sapporo Snow Festival Guide
Best Things to Do in Sapporo, Hokkaido

-Kamakura Festival

Another spectacular winter event, featuring the winter tradition of northern part of Japan, Kamakura (snow huts). Two most spectacular Kamakura Festivals in Japan : Yokote Kamakura Festival and Yunishigawa Onsen Kamakura Festival are both held annually featuring numbers of Kamakura statues and lanterns.

Popular Kamakura Festivals
▶ Yokote Kamakura Snow Festival
▶ Yunishigawa Onsen Kamakura Festival


Japan Wonder Travel Coupon

4. Winter Illumination

The spectacular winter illumination at Nabana no Sato

Winter illumination is the most popular attraction during winter, and light-up events are held across the country. Some events end after Christmas but, most of them continue through the whole winter, so it’s still not too late for winter illumination viewings.

Japan Illumination Map: Guide to Winter Illuminations
Tokyo Winter Illumination Guide
10 Winter Illuminations in Japan You Can still Enjoy after New Year

5. Ice Skating

No time to go for skiing? You can still enjoy a winter activity in town! Tokyo has several outdoor ice skating rinks which open during winter in central areas. Especially recommended for families and couples!


6. Jigokudani Monkey Park

One of most unique and famous winter sights of Japan, bathing snow monkeys can be found at Jigokudani Monkey Park in Nagano Prefecture. The monkeys inhabit in this park and can be seen all year round, but most people visit there during winter when snow covers the sites.


7. Shirakawago Village

The picturesque scenery of SHirakawago Village in winter

Shirakawago is a beautiful traditional village which is on UNESCO World Heritage list. It’s recommended to visit all year round and the village displays gorgeous view on each season, but I must say that winter time is especially spectacular as the village is covered in white snow, and light-up events are held occasionally during winter time.

▶ Best Things to Do in Shirakawago

8. Sumo January Grand Tournament

The new year tournament of Sumo begun at the capital city, Tokyo, and it lasts for 2 weeks from 12th January 2020. Sumo is one of most iconic and traditional things in Japan, and becoming more popular among foreign visitors.

Get Tickets for the Sumo Wrestling Tournament in Tokyo

9. Early Viewing of Cherry Blossoms

Kawazu Sakura: the early blooming cherry blossoms in Izu

Don’t wait till spring to see cherry blossoms! First cherry blossoms of the year can be seen at Kawazu City, Shizuoka Prefecture in early February as the city is known for early blooming cherry trees, Kawazu Sakura. Also these cherry trees bloom longer than other cherry trees and lasts for about a month!

Kawazu Cherry Blossoms: Early Blooming Sakura Festival

10. Eat Crab

There are some seasonal dishes recommended to eat during winter such as hot pot dish, mochi (rice cake), etc, and crab is one of them. Of course, the best place to eat crab is Hokkaido, but there are also great places in Tokyo, too including crab all-you-can-eat. Check the link below for recommended crab restaurants!


CRAB All You Can Eat in Tokyo 2019!!

Japan Wonder Travel Coupon

Have you enjoyed the list?? If you are looking for travel info for different seasons in Japan, please check out listed articles, below!