Things to look forward to this winter in Japan
If you're planning a holiday in Japan next winter there are few things you shouldn't forget to put on your list of things to do. There are a lot for you to look forward to when it comes to the tail-end of the year in the Land of the Rising Sun, and it would be a shame to miss out.
What are the things you need to remember to look out for once winter rolls into Japan? Here are 4 suggestions you might want to consider:
Explore the Many Winter Festivals in the Country
You will find that Japan is one country that truly enjoys the cold, white winters that they have, hence the many festivals that happen here from the start until the end of the season. There is the Caretta Shiodome Illuminations in Tokyo in the second week of November, which happens alongside the Roppongi Hills Artelligent Christmas celebration and the Rikugien Garden Illuminations. The weather in Tokyo in November is still pleasantly warm, so it's a great time of year to visit.
There are also festivals and events that occur in the months of January and February, like the Nozawa Fire Festival on January 15, and the Sapporo Snow Festival on 5th February, running until the 11th. There is also the Otaru Snow Light Path from 6th February to the 15th.
Shop at the Various Christmas Markets in Tokyo
If you love shopping and you love winter, what better way to combine both than to have a blast at one of the five Christmas Markets that open up all over Tokyo? Take your pick from the Solamachi Christmas Market in Oshiage, the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse Christmas Market in Minato Mirai, or the Roppongi Hills Christmas Market. You can also visit the Christmas Marche at the Yebisu Garden Palace and the Tokyo Christmas Market at Hibiya Park.
All of these winter shopping destinations stay open from the start of December until Christmas Day itself. The wares you will find in these markets vary from one to the other, with almost all of them selling Christmas décor, snow globes, popular winter fare, and various holiday trinkets. You will also find these markets filled with breathtaking Christmas decorations and illuminations of their own.
Enjoy the Slopes and the Snow with Winter Sports
If you love the outdoors and you love breathing the crisp, cold air of the winter months, you should consider heading on down to some of the top winter resorts in the country, like Kiroro in Hokkaido for some skiing, snowboarding, and even snowmobiling. Enjoying the snowy slopes of Japan is one of the favourite pastimes of both locals and tourists alike. Snow bunnies from near and far, troop on over to this northern Japanese island to ski down some of the most enjoyable and challenging slopes around.
Those who would rather stay near the capital of Tokyo can choose to go skiing in nearby Gunma or Niigata. The best ski slopes, however, are found in Hokkaido and Tohoku, so it might be a good idea to plan a trip to these places if skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports are in your plans for the season.
Take a Dip in an Onsen
Otherwise known as a hot spring, an onsen is a geothermally-heated, mineral-rich, water bath that you can take a dip in during the winter months. It is even more enjoyable if you go to one of the many outdoor onsen in the country. You can take in the splendour of winter with all the snow around you while you are comfortably sitting in very warm, nutrient-rich water. Just be prepared to go au naturel since taking a dip in these onsen requires you to be naked.
Considered a very relaxing and stress-relieving activity, you can choose from many onsen found in various parts of Japan. If you want to enjoy the waters with monkeys, try the onsen in Nagano prefecture. If you would rather take a dip in waters that only humans are in, there are some in Gifu, Amori, and Akita. For people who want to stay near Tokyo, there is Hakone and there is also one in Gunma.
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