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Japan Winter Travel Guide; Hokuriku Region And Niigata Prefecture

Winter travel guide, Hokuriku and NiigataTravel Tips
Travel Tips
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Hokuriku region is located in the northwestern of Tokyo, composed of three prefectures- Toyama, Ishikawa, Fukui along the sea of Japan.

Niigata prefecture is bordered by five prefectures (Toyama, Nagano, Gunma, Fukushima, and Yamagata) and three regions ( Chubu or Hokuriku, Kanto, and Tohoku) but according to the Niigata government, it doesn’t associate with any regions so far.

Besides, the Hokuriku region and Niigata prefecture sometimes are includes in the Chubu region (the central region).

In this blog, I refer to Hokuriku region for Toyama, Ishikawa, and Fukui prefectures and give you a guide if you are traveling to these prefectures or Niigata prefecture.

Where To Go

First, read here to check out where to visit Hokuriku and Niigata Prefecture in the winter season.

Winter Essentials For Hokuruku Region, Niigata Prefecture

Roughly speaking, it is not as cold as Hokkaido and Tohoku region, but it’s a little colder than Tokyo area.

However, because the humidity is higher than in other regions, you may feel not so cold as you expected.

These prefectures are located along the sea of Japan so it rains a lot and the wind is chilly. In the mountains area, it gets snowy and low temperatures.

Moreover, there is a system called a snow-melting pipe, which is melting snow with running water from the pipe on the road in these prefectures. Therefore, the roads are very wet.

Thus, it is better to bring waterproof clothes and shoes.

  1. Winter Down Jacket
  2. Lightweight thinner down jacket (optional)
  3. Winter Accessories
  4. Winter boots
  5. A travel umbrella

For more details, refer here to winter outfits for Tohoku trip.

Ishikawa Prefecture

Probably, travelers visit Ishikawa prefecture the most in Hokuriku region, maybe because of the famous Japanese garden and great sea foods.

If you have already read my posts about Japan’s winter, you knew the idea that it is colder on the sea of Japan’s side rather than the Pacific side.

As well as other cold areas, the temperature drops sharply after December. The maximum temperature is below 10 degrees Celsius and it continues until around February.

Also, it often gets snow, and some regions in Ishikawa are listed as national heavy snow areas.

Except for certain snowy areas, probably, you don’t need a heavy winter jacket (if you get used to winter) when you bring a high-quality down jacket to prevent cold. Bring winter accessories such as a pair of gloves, earmuffs, scarves to protect from cold monsoon from the sea of Japan.

Average Temperatures

KanazawaDecember (℃)JanuaryFebruary
20206.76.3
20198.34.45.4
20187.32.83.0
20175.64.54.4
WajimaDecember(℃)JanuaryFebruary
20205.65.2
20197.23.44.0
20186.23.44.0
20174.43.83.6

Toyama Prefecture

Most days in the winter season, Toyama, it is overcast or snow, high humidity like I said.
The average temperature in January is around 2.7 °C, but, the minimum temperature is not so low compared to the temperature, and it is almost never a day with a maximum temperature of less than 0 ° C.

Since snow in Hokuriku region is watery, prepare waterproof (water resistant) outfits and boots.
Sneakers are not suitable for the winter trip to Hokuriku region.

  1. Winter Down Jacket
  2. Lightweight thinner down jacket (optional)
  3. Winter Accessories
  4. Winter boots

Average Temperatures

December (℃)JanuaryFebruary
20206.55.5
20197.43.44.9
20186.32.02.0
20174.43.33.6

Fukui Prefecture

Not only talking about Fukui, but also temperatures are quite different along the seaside, the inland, and in the mountains.
In Fukui prefecture, it is not severe cold except for in the mountains.

It rarely gets below freezing,but, it doesn’t get warm you expected in the mid-day.

There are certain areas in Fukui prefecture are selected as heavy snow region. However, it often rains like those prefectures in the Hokuriku region and Niigata prefecture, so don’t forget to pack a rain jacket and an umbrella.

Average Temperatures

December (℃)JanuaryFebruary
20206.45.9
20197.53.75.3
20186.62.01.7
20174.63.73.6

Niigata Prefecture

Niigata prefecture is a popular spot for winter sports and Japanese Sake production, so there are many travelers who visit in the winter season. The mid-day temperature is around 5 ℃, it is not so cold.

Niigata in January and February is cold and snowy.
Most days are overcast so the real feel temperature can be colder.

Since Niigata has an elongated shape from north to south, the weather varies greatly depending on the regions.

Joetsu and Uonuma regions are known for heavy snow areas,
but, Niigata City and other regions don’t get much snow.

As I said, the weather varies greatly depending on the area, so you need to pack outfits according to where you visit.

In addition, there is a system called a snow-melting pipe to melt the snow on the road, which allows water to come out of the road.

Therefore, in winter, the roads are often wet, like when it is raining.

Average Temperatures

December (℃)JanuaryFebruary
20205.25.0
20196.63.04.0
20185.91.71.4
20173.93.13.3

Comparing With The Temperature In Tokyo

December (℃)JanuaryFebruary
20207.18.3
20198.55.67.2
20188.34.75.4
20176.65.86.9

Heavy Snow Areas in Hokuriku & Niigata

Niigata Prefecture

Special Heavy Snow Areas

Nagaoka City, Sanjo City, Kashiwazaki City, Ojiya City, Kamo City, Tokamachi City, Itoigawa City, Myoko City, Murakami City, Gosen City, Joetsu City (Former Joetsu City, Former Yasuzuka Town, Former Uragawara Village, Former Oshima Village, Former Maki Village, Former Kakizaki Town, Former Yoshikawa Town, Former Nakago Village, Former Itakura Town, Former Kiyosato Village, Former Sanwa Village, Former Nadachi Town), Uonuma City, Minami Uonuma City, Tainai City (Former Kurokawa Village), Aga Town, Yuzawa Town, Tsunan Town, Sekikawa Village

Heavy Snoe Areas

Niigata City, Nagaoka City, Sanjo City, Kashiwazaki City, Shintada City, Mitsuke City, Tsubame City, Murakami City, Gosen City, Joetsu City, Agano City, Sado City, Tainai City, Seigo Town, Yahiko Village, Tagami Town, Izumozaki Town , Kariwa Village, Awashima Ura Village

Toyama Prefecture

Special Heavy Snow Areas

Toyama City, Kurobe City, Tonami City, Nanto City, Kamiichi Town, Tateyama Town

Heavy Snoe Areas

Toyama City, Takaoka City, Imizu City, Uozu City, Himi City, Namerikawa City, Kurobe City, Tonami City, Oyabe City, Minami Tonami City, Funabashi Village, Nyuzen Town, Asahi Town

Ishikawa Prefecture

Special Heavy Snow Areas

Kaga City, Hakusan City

Heavy Snow Areas

Kanazawa City, Nanao City, Komatsu City, Wajima City, Tamashii City, Kaga City, Hakui City, Kahoku City, Hakui City, Noto City, Nono City, Kawakita Town, Tsuhata Town, Uchinada Town, Shika Town, Hodatsushimizu Town, Naka Noto Town, Anamizu Town, Noto Town

Fukui Prefecture

Special Heavy Snow Areas

Ono City, Katsuyama City, Ikeda Town, Minami Echizen Town (Former Imajō Town)

Heavy Snow Areas

Fukui City, Tsuruga City, Echizen City, Obama City, Sabae City, Awara City, Sakai City, Eiheiji Town, Minami Echizen Town (former Nanjo Town / Former Kono Village), Echizen Town, Mihama Town, Oi Town, Takahama Town, Wakasa town

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