WINTER TRIP IDEAS
As we posted in our previous posts, Japan is obviously very famous for the cherry blossom season. It also has extremely beautiful foliage during autumn. However, if you want to travel around Japan in winter, it is a great time too, as you can enjoy many snowy landscapes, hot onsens, and ski resorts.
One of the biggest cities in Hokkaido. And it is especially famous for the spectacular views you can enjoy from Mount Hakodate, which are snowy and magical during the winter days and nights.
Another attraction is Hakodate Tropical Botanical Garden featuring an airy greenhouse & monkeys bathing in a hot spring.
And for the foodies, this place will be interesting because of the freshest seafood ever with any kind of fish that are unique to this area.
Sapporo and Otaru
Of course, Sapporo, the capital of the north island, is also worth a visit. Not only it hosts a famous snow festival, there are also many places to visit, such as Sapporo Beer Museum. Or the famous morning fish market, where you can enjoy freshly prepared snow crab for relatively a low price.
And if you are in Sapporo, make sure you visit a nearby smaller town Otaru. During the winter days, it looks like a Christmas fairytale that came to life: shops that sell souvenirs, all kinds of food, sweet treats, and of course Otaru canal with its old fashioned gas lamps that provide a romantic atmosphere during the evenings.
Nagano Prefecture is located in the center of the main island, which makes it a relatively easy destination to get to from Tokyo, and it has a few points of interest during the winter times.
First, you can visit Yamanouchi. This municipality in the northern part of the prefecture is famous for the Jigokudani Monkey Park, where wild monkeys are bathing in the natural hot springs of the park. And you can even bathe with them.
Another place to visit in Yamanouchi is the largest ski resort in all of Japan, Shiga Kogen. This resort even hosted some of the Olympic events of 1998.
Second, another resort you can visit is Karuizawa resort. It takes only about an hour to get here from central Tokyo. It surrounded by mountains, therefore you can enjoy skiing here as well. And also ice-skating is pretty popular here during winter.
And if you are not into action sports, this town has plenty of options for shopping and restaurants for any budget and taste.
Shirakawago is a Japanese traditional village, which was declared as Unesco world heritage site. It is worth visiting all year round but especially during the winter when the traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses are covered with snow and illuminated.
Japan is one of the very few places in the world where you can experience all 4 seasons. And Japan has a lot to offer to do during any of them. These are only a few examples, but the list can be continued.