Japan embraces the wintertime like few other countries, making it a fine time to visit. From snow monkeys and pretty villages to perfect skiing and cockle-warming hotpots.
By visiting in wintertime, you’ll beat the crowds
Japan is an increasingly popular destination. The spring sakura and autumn koyo attract millions of tourists each year, while the summer holidays for many other nations mean kids and families have more free time to travel. By visiting in the winter, travellers can experience a totally different side of Japan and avoid the madding crowd. Traditional Japanese architecture is calm-inducing enough as it is, but when it’s dusted with snow, you’re into the realms of the blissfully serene.
You can strap on your skis and tackle the Japanese Alps
Japan has more than its fair share of mountains, so it’s only natural that the skiing, snowboarding, skating and other winter sports available are some of the best in the world.
The northern island of Hokkaido is particularly renowned for its ski resorts and powdery snow. But even if you’re sticking to Honshu, a lot of that island’s major resorts are within an easy train ride of Tokyo, Osaka or Nagoya. Good options close to Tokyo include Naeba and Gala Yuzawa.
It’s the best time of year to soak in a steaming hot onsen
Wintertime in Japan would be nothing without its legendary onsen (hot springs). Whether it’s a small local spring, a five-star resort or an entire town built around the industry – such as Kusatsu – onsen are a fabulous way to embrace the wintertime. Opt for an outdoor onsen on a snowy day – it doesn’t get much more magical than soaking in steaming hot waters with snow fluttering all around you.