9 Reasons to Visit Japan in the Winter - 2019

by TripleLights travel specialist

Winter is a great time to visit Japan. It is cold, freezing in some places, but there are things that you can only see in this winter season, like winter festivals or winter animals. So bundle up and come see the amazing sights of this country. Below are some of the things you’ll want to go see.

 

Illumination Events

9 Reasons to Visit Japan in the Winter - 2019

Illumination of the city is very popular in Japan. Tokyo lights up beautifully all around, from early December to around Christmas time or till around Valentine’s Day for some places. Below are some of the best spots to see these amazing lights. Traveling around the city at night time may get a little disorienting so you can also check out hiring a private guide to take you around for a few hours. You’ll find that being able to have someone customize your itinerary makes for a wonderful experience. 

 

Omotesando Street

9 Reasons to Visit Japan in the Winter - 2019

Access: Harajuku Station, Meiji Jingumae Station, Omotesando Station

Address: Omotesando, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Hours: Dec. 1 - Dec. 25 (sunset to 10 pm)

 

Roppongi Hills Keyakizaka

9 Reasons to Visit Japan in the Winter - 2019

Access: a few minutes walk from Roppongi Station, next to Roppongi Hills

Address: 6-10 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Hours: Nov. 5 - Dec. 25 (5 pm to 10 pm)

 

Tokyo Tower

9 Reasons to Visit Japan in the Winter - 2019

Access: a 10 minute walk from either Kamiyacho Station on the Hibiya line or Onarimon Station on the Mita line or Akabanebashi Station on the Oedo line.

Address: 4-2-8 Shiba Koen, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Hours: Nov. 2 - Feb. 28 (4 pm to 10 pm)

 

Odaiba

9 Reasons to Visit Japan in the Winter - 2019

Access: a 2 minute walk from Odaiba Kaihinkoen Station on the Yurikamome Monorail

Address: Decks Tokyo Beach 3F Seaside Deck, 1-6-1 Daiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Hours: all year round (sunset to midnight)

 

Yomiuri Land

9 Reasons to Visit Japan in the Winter - 2019

Access: From Shinjuku Station take the Keio Line to Chofu Station, then change lines to the Keio Sagamihara Line and get off at Keio Yomiuri Land Station (278 yen total). It’s a 5 - 10 minute ride on the rope way (300 yen) from there.

Address: 4015-1 Yanokuchi, Tama-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa

Hours: Oct. 11 to Feb. 17 (4 pm to 8:30 pm)

Entrance fee (for after 4 pm):   Adults: 1,400 yen / Children age 13-18: 600 yen / Children age 4-12: 300 yen



Winter festivals

9 Reasons to Visit Japan in the Winter - 2019

Sapporo Snow Festival

This is one of the most famous winter festivals in Japan. See the same humongous snow statues made in just 1 month. They’re amazing! The festival is held at 3 locations in Sapporo. Odori Park is the main location and there are also some ice sculptures in Susukino. And then a little further off is the Sapporo Community Dome also known as “Tsudome”, where there are snow slides and a snow maze. There are local guides that will take you on a private tour of these wonderful sights if you want someone to help you along. 

Access:

          1. Odori Park - next to Odori Station on the 3 subway lines (Tozai line, Toho line, or Namboku line) or a 10 minute walk south from JR Sapporo Station

          2. Tsudome (Sapporo Community Dome) - a 15 minute walk from Sakaemachi station or use the Shuttle bus service available during the festival (from Feb. 5 only) from either Sakaemachi station or Sapporo station 

           3. Susukino - Susukino Station on the Namboku line

Location Addresses:

            1. Odori Park: Nishi 1 chome - Nishi 12 chome, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido

                     (From Feb. 4 to Feb 11, open all day, lights until 10 pm)

          2. Tsudome (Sapporo Community Dome): 885-1 Sakaecho, Higashi-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido

                     (From Jan. 31 to Feb. 11, 9 am to 5 pm)

          3. Susukino: Nishi 4-chome street, between Minami Shijo Avenue and Minami Shichijo Avenue

                     (From Feb. 4 to Feb. 11, open all day, lights until 11 pm, 10 pm on the last day)

Website: http://www.snowfes.com/english/index.html

 

Zao Juhyou Festival

The Juhyou or “snow monsters” are actually trees covered in ice and snow. Hundreds of them surround the Zao skiing resort and the scenery becomes fantastical. You can only see them in a few places in Japan during the coldest months of the year, so go see them for yourself. They’ll be illuminated in the evening making them look more weird and eerie. Enjoy the scenery along with the great skiing.

Address: Zao Onsen, Yamagata-shi, Yamagata-ken

Access: About 35 minutes by bus from Yamagata Station to Zao Onsen

Duration: Dec. 22, 2018 - Mar. 3, 2018

Website: http://zaoropeway.co.jp/en/

 

Hida no Sato Illumination

Hida Takayama is in a very mountainous area. It is an area where the old traditional Japanese houses with thatched roofs still exist today. These snow covered houses are a beautiful sight in the daytime, but it becomes an even more awesome sight when they’re lit up at night. Make sure to dress warmly because it is freezing.

Takayama is where you can board the bus to get to “Hida no Sato”. It’s a beautiful traditional city called “little Kyoto”. Walking around and seeing the amazing sights on a guided tour is an exceptional way to spend the hours until you can go see “Hida no Sato” in the evening. 

Address: 1-590 Kamioka Honmachi, Takayama-shi, Gifu

Access: 15 minutes by bus from Takayama Station

Hours: 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm from Jan. 12, 2019 to Feb. 28, 2019

Ilumination event entrance fee: Adults 300 yen / Children 100 yen

Website: http://www.hidanosato-tpo.jp/english12.html

 

 

Seeing winter animals

9 Reasons to Visit Japan in the Winter - 2019

Asahiyama Zoo

Asahiyama Zoo is a famous zoo in Hokkaido. They are famous for creating exhibits which use the animals’ natural instincts, in turn making it easier for humans to observe them. For example in the seal exhibit, a large vertical tube runs from their pool through an observation room up to the surface, mimicking holes in the ice which the seals swim through to get air. And we can watch them as they swim through. The penguin walk is also a famous winter attraction at this zoo.

It’s a bit far from the closest airport and hours away from the central city of Sapporo, so joining a tour might be a good way to visit the zoo instead of trying to get there yourselves. 

Address: Kuranuma, Higashi Asahikawa-machi, Asahikawa-shi, Hokkaido

Access:

From JR Sapporo Station to JR Asahikawa Station take the Limited Express train (1.5 hours, 4,810 yen). Then from Asahikawa Station take the bus from bus stop number 6 (40 minutes, 440 yen).

Or from Asahikawa Airport take the bus for 35 minutes (550 yen).

Hours: 10:30 am - 3:30 pm (winter hours) Last entry until 3 pm

Fees: Adults 820 yen (children under 15 free of charge)

 

Snow Monkeys

Have you ever seen a picture of the snow monkeys soaking in the hot springs? They are Japanese macaques. And this group of monkeys who live in Jigokudani Yaen Park (Snow Monkey Park) are a special group who have adapted to soak in the hot springs during the cold snowy winter months. Japan is the only place in the world where you can see monkeys displaying this type of behavior. The park is in the countryside of Nagano Prefectures. There are guided tours that will take you there from Nagano Station if you can’t get there by yourselves. And Nagano Station is just about two hours away by Shinkansen from Tokyo.

Address: Jigokudani Yaen Koen, 6846 Hirao, Yananouchi-machi, Shimotakai-gun, Nagano

Access:

From Yudanaka Station, take the bus for either the Snow Monkey Park bus stop or the Kanbayashi Onsen bus stop. From there it’s a 10 minute walk to the Snow Monkey Park trail entrance. The Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park is at the end of the trail, so it’s a 30 - 40 minute trek to the park.

Hours: 9 am to 4 pm during Nov. to Mar.  / 8:30 am to 5 pm during Apr. to Oct.

Fees: Adults: 800 yen / Children age 5-12: 400 yen

Website: http://en.jigokudani-yaenkoen.co.jp/

 

Conclusion

Winter is a special time of year to visit Japan and there are lots to do and see if you don’t mind the cold. But I would recommend making sure you’re not traveling from one place in Japan to another right before and after New Years. That’s the time of year that the local Japanese travel to spend time with their families. So the transportation system becomes overloaded with people and it’s chaos. It goes back to normal after the first week of January so come enjoy the beautiful sights after that!

 

Want to make your Japan Trip more Interesting? Here's how! 

TripleLights the Best Private Tours and Locals Guides across Japan.

9 Reasons to Visit Japan in the Winter - 2019

If you are interested to know more and save your time during your trip to Japan, you can Send a Message to our local guides to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience.

You also can Request a Tour just for you. Just type what you would like to see and guides all over Japan will send you quotes and their recommendations according to your interested and budget. 

TripleLights website you can find the best professional Local Guides all across Japan to help you plan your trip. Check our Private Tours across Japan.

 

Blogs About Japan

Cool Things to Do in Tokyo: 2019 Hidden Gems

15 Best Things to Do in Tokyo

Traveling to Kyoto from Osaka: One day trip

One day in Tokyo - Trip Plan Itinerary Recommendation

Kyoto Tours: The 9 Best and Most Popular Tours by Local Tour Guides

Did you like my article?

If you are interested to know more and save your time during your trip to Tokyo, You can send a message to our local guides to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience.

In the TripleLights website you can find the best professional guides all over Japan to help you plan your trip. Check our local guides for Tokyo


Plan your trip to Tokyo

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started

Recent Tour Reviews in Tokyo

“ Great morning watching Sumo ”

Very Good
10 hours ago Traveler: Alissa -   Tour Guide: Kaoruko

Kaoruko organized our visit to a sumo stable, where we were able to watch practice for about 2.5 hours. Kaoruko was very flexible with our schedule and understanding when I was confused about the address of our hotel. She was also very kind, and easy to talk to. Thank you Kaoruko for organizing this trip for us.
read more

“ A day in Tokyo ”

Excellent
13 hours ago Traveler: Tonia -   Tour Guide: Toshi(T-chan)

We had a wonderful time with Toshi. She was prompt and very welcoming. She met us early and took us all around Tokyo. She knew a great deal about the places we visited and we learned a lot. Our schedule included a lot of walking but she was full of energy and good cheer. She has a great sense of humor. I would recommend Toshi to anyone who wants an energetic knowledgeable guide in Tokyo. T...
read more

“ Shortened and rescheduled tour but very informative and memorable. ”

Excellent
13 hours ago Traveler: KARYNA -   Tour Guide: MICHIKO

After our flights were delayed due to typhoon number 19 and our one day tour had to be cancelled, Michiko generously gave up two afternoons to tour us around Asakusa, Shibuya Ginza and the Imperial Gardens. Very pleasant, accommodating and easy to be with, she worked with our schedule and made our day and a half in Tokyo truly memorable. Thank you Michiko for showing us Hachiko and cafe latte with...
read more

“ You won't regret booking with Yoko ”

Excellent
15 hours ago Traveler: Christopher -   Tour Guide: Yoko

When I decided to participate in a Japanese-only sample-making workshop in Kappabashi, I decided to look for a translator who might be able to act as a guide as well! In my search, I ran across Yoko's profile and messaged her with my plans. She was enthusiastic and ready to accept the task, and she quickly got to work arranging the reservation with the sample shop and building an itinerary to tour...
read more

“ A Professional Tour Guide ”

Excellent
19 hours ago Traveler: Mark -   Tour Guide: Shoji

Shoji is a consummate tour guide. He is knowledgeable, has very good people skills, and a great sense of humor. He arranged our itinerary in such a way as to maximize our experience. In just one day, I felt that I learned a great deal about the Japanese people and the country's culture. Shoji met and exceeded our expectations as a ģuide.
read more

“ Fantastic Full Day Tour with a Gentleman ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Conall -   Tour Guide: Masato

Masato-san facilitated us having the most fantastic experience in Tokyo. He brought us to all the sights, navigated transport systems, brought us for lunch and gave us so much local insights. He went above and beyond and I would highly recommend. We were a very large group and he managed it effortlessly
read more

“ Wonderful! ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Yasmin -   Tour Guide: Chiaki

Chiaki made my first visit to Tokyo the best it could be. She catered to whatever I wanted to do and it was like exploring a new city with a knowledgeable friend. I highly recommend her!
read more

“ Highlight of our visit to Tokyo! ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Glenn -   Tour Guide: HIROKO

Hiroko tailored the day to our interests and gave us so much more. Very warm, considerate, kind and lovely, Hiroko was a wealth of information, history and fascinating facts. She has a great knowledge of a huge amount of stores, their wares, and quality as well as restaurants and cafes. She has developed relationships with many shop owners and crafts people and gave us invaluable advice. She a...
read more

“ Enjoyable time with Akira ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Karen -   Tour Guide: Akira.S

Mr Akira met us at our hotel lobby and brought us to Tsukiji. We had a scrumptious sushi breakfast based on his recommendation. Thereafter, we explored the outer market with Mr Akira showing us and explaining the different veggies, fish and produce. Then we headed to Asakusa. We had an enjoyable time with him. He is knowledgeable, caring and very proud of his culture. Highly recommend!
read more

“ Gracious and fun ”

Excellent
2 days ago Traveler: JOANNE -   Tour Guide: Atsuko

My husband and I along with our friends spent a wonderful day seeing the sights of Tokyo areas. She put an itinerary that was perfect and a gave us great insights of all that we saw. We are so glad that we chose Atsuko as she made our day enjoyable too.
read more

Plan your trip to Tokyo

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started