Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Japan in the winter?

Hello everyone :)

Has anyone here been to Japan during early-mid January? My friends and I will be traveling to Tokyo this coming year in January and we wanted to get an idea of what to expect. Is it a good/poor time to go? Are there still outdoor events and things like that? Is there still good shopping and good culture to experience? Or is to very dim because of the season?

Thanks so much!

Japan in the winter?

Actually, almost every year for the past 10 years or so. It%26#39;s cool and dry but I like it that way. The only downside is the short day and early sunset. There is plenty of sunshine and the days are not dim.

Japan in the winter?

I love Japan in the winter. Tourist areas are less crowded, the air is dry and bracing, you can see Mt. Fuji more ofter (generally).

If you are in Tokyo early enough there may still be Christmas lights up. Many are taken down at Christmas but others stay up longer. There is always a lot of information about locations and schedules on the internet, so you could check before you go.

If I was coming to Japan in Mid-January, I would plan way ahead, bring my warmest snow clothes, and go to this festival in Nozawa Onsen:

held every year on Januray 15th. You%26#39;d have to make a reservation well in advance!!

Check out some internet info about other January festivals. It can be a little grey as of course the trees are not leafed out but still fun. And up in the mountains the snow is wonderful.


It%26#39;s bright, dry, skies are blue, and not ';cold'; compared to New York! The sun comes up at 7-ish, and goes down around 4:30.

It%26#39;s one of the reasons why I live here is the four seasons, and the winters are not long and dreary!

Where did you have in mind? The islands are long north to south, and the seasons are different depending on where you%26#39;re headed. Kyoto would be ';nippy,'; but nothing like the nippiness that one would get in Boston!


I found winter in NY (where I used to live) to be colder than in Tokyo. I%26#39;d guess that on average, NY is about 10 degrees F colder than Tokyo in winter.

Tokyo is a little further south than NY, so there will be a bit more light in winter in Tokyo.

I have been in late Dec/early January. I live in Toronto, and it is a lot better than Toronto in winter. One thing I note is the day light starts earlier and finishes sooner compared to NY. A lot of people think big cities in Japan look better at night with all the neon, etc.

Compared to the US I would put Tokyo in early January similar to Seattle, but without the rain. In 2 weeks we only had one day of light showers, which was nice. Obviously if you head to the Japanese Alps you will have snow, and I did go there for one day and it turned out to be a day with a pretty strong wind and snow...not what I wanted to see, so we headed back south!

Another nice thing about that time of year is fewer tourists, easy to get hotels, etc.

A lot depends on where you%26#39;ll be. Tokyo in winter is rougly similar to Nashville/Atlanta/Raleigh NC; it can be pretty cold, but it%26#39;s also just likely to be surprisingly warm. If you go to the north it%26#39;s much colder. The Japan Sea side of the nation gets most of the cold/snow sweeping down out of Asia. Depending on exactly when you go you might get to see some good festivals.

John W.

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