Is it worth to visit Japan in wintertime although weather condition will make you nervous?
Protect yourself from the cold, dress warm enough, and visit beautiful places that you can feel winter in Japan!
Introducing the “Japanese winter scenery” that you definitely want to visit such as Shirakawa-go, a World Heritage Site, and Kinkakuji Temple with snow makeup.
- Hokkaido & Tohoku Region
- Kanto Region
- Chubu Region
- Mt Fuji (Yamanashi, Shizuoka)
- Matsumoto Castle (Nagano)
- Tsumago-Juku (Nagano)
- Tojinobo Cliffs (Fukui)
- Shiroyone Senmaida Rice Terraces (Ishikawa)
- Kenroku-en (Ishikawa)
- Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route (Toyama)
- Eihei-Ji Temple (Fukui)
- Shirakawago (Gifu) And Gokayama Gassho no Sato (Toyama)
- Takayama City (Gifu)
- The Shinhotaka Ropeway (Gifu)
- The Gozaisho Ropeway (Mie)
Hokkaido & Tohoku Region
Experience Drift-ice in Okhotsk sea (Hokkaido)
Watching drift-ice in Okhotsk sea that you can see in the limited season. There are several ways to experience drift ices, such as walking tours or an icebreaker ship tour.
In the Sea of Okhotsk, 80% of the sea surface is covered with drift ice in winter, which begins to form in mid-November, north of Sakhalin, Russia, near the mouth of the Amur River. The drift ice is swept away by the north wind and ocean current while growing steadily, travels 2000 km, and appears off the coast of Abashiri (網走) around mid-January. As the drift ice zone approaches, the coastal seawater begins to freeze and transforms into a white ice field overnight overlooking the Sea of Okhotsk.
You can make a great day to experiences drift ice spreading all over the coastline, overlooking the sunset, watching sea animals such as seals, white-tailed eagles.
Oirase Gorge (Aomori)
“Oirase Gorge” is a popular seasonal travel spot with beautiful fresh greenery in spring and colored leaves in autumn. The most stunning view is in winter when the magnificent frozen waterfalls- “Kumoi no Taki” and “Choshi Otaki”. On a clear day, the icefall can look fantastic deep blue.
Ouchi-juku, a popular sightseeing spot in Fukushima Prefecture, has the appearance of the Edo period, with more than 30 thatched-roof private houses lined up in the secluded area, which is a post town on Shimotsuke Kaido Street that remains as it is. Selected as a National Important Preservation District for Traditional Buildings
In winter, the fantastic snow-lantern festival is annually held and makes you feel as if you have traveled back in the Edo era.
Tokyo Tower (Tokyo)
The landmark “Tokyo Tower” in Tokyo is a staple traveling spot for a long time, yes, it has been for 63 years. – yes, longer than Skytree. Go up Tokyo tower lit up with warm orange and enjoy the massive night view. Especially in the winter season, the air is really clear so can be the most beautiful time.
Mt Takao (Tokyo)
Because it takes only an hour train ride from Shinjuku station, Mt. Takao, which even beginners can enjoy hiking, is a popular tourist spot. You can enjoy the seasonal landscape which you can’t believe you are in Tokyo, in particular, the winter air is clear, you can see the magnificent view from the summit very beautifully.
The winter special soba noodle dish is also a popular thing to do when visiting Mt Takao.
Mt Tsukuba Ropeway (Tochigi)
Mt Tsukuba, one of the “100 famous mountains” in Japan. Its beautiful view is called “Mt Fuji in the west, Mt Tsukuba in the east”. The altitude is relatively low at 877 meters, so it is perfect for a day trip from Tokyo.
“Sunset & Stardust Cruising” is held every autumn and winter on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. You can enjoy the sunset with an impressive Mt Fuji silhouette and the night view known as a “Night View Heritage of Japan.”
Take a Tsukuba Express from “Akihabara” station to “Tsukuba” station, for about 45 minutes. There is also a shuttle bus from Tsukuba Station to Tsutsujigaoka Station, the starting point of the ropeway.
Mt Fuji (Yamanashi, Shizuoka)
Fuji is Japan’s iconic landmark, and the Japanese enjoy seasonal Mt Fuji each season. A snow-makeup Fuji in winter is almost a sacred view for the Japanese!
Matsumoto Castle (Nagano)
One of the most beautiful and complete among the historic original castles and is listed as a National Treasure of Japan.
It’s nice to see different castles depending on the season, such as cherry blossoms and autumn leaves. Matsumoto Castle covered with snow is also beautiful in winter.
A post town on the Nakasendo in Kiso mountains which is the first preserved post town in Japan as the old townscape, and, you can enjoy the townscape and the scenery of the four seasons as if you had traveled back in time to the Edo period.
Tojinobo Cliffs (Fukui)
The Tojinibo cliffs, which is 20 meters high and 1 km long, is located along the Sea of Japan in Sakai city, Fukui, and is known as Columnar joints.
Columnar joints are a geological structure that forms in rocks that consists of columns, commonly hexagonal in shape. It is designated as a natural monument in Japan along with remote islands, including Tojinbo.
The appearance of the rough waves of the Sea of Japan crashing against the quay with a height of 20 m or more is powerful enough to shrug.
Shiroyone Senmaida Rice Terraces (Ishikawa)
Scenic rice paddies sprawl across a terraced hillside offering sea vistas & seasonal events.
Photogenic Shiroyone Senmaida which is over 1, 000 rice paddies on the hillside, has attracted many visitors, especially with the seasonal illumination lights-up. Today, it is one of the best sightseeing spots in Ishikawa Prefecture following Kanazawa city.
The vast garden is the worth garden to visit traditional view with various aspects treated very well, and the “Yukitsuri” that is applied to protect the branches of trees from snow is a must-see scenery as a winter tradition in Kanazawa.
Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route (Toyama)
Tateyama Kurobe alpine route is the staple winter sightseeing attraction for the Japanese, which represents Toyama. The tall snow walls along the route sides allow you to feel the mystery and threat of snow.
The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is lined with peaks at an altitude of 3,000 meters. The total length is 37.2 km and the maximum height difference is 1,975m. Most areas in the route are located in the national park.
General vehicles are not allowed to enter the route. A unique way to reach the summit is to use between six types of transportation, including the plateau bus, ropeway, cable car, and trolleybus that passes through the tunnel used to build the Kurobe Dam.
Japan’s largest arch dam. The height is 186 meters, the length is 492 meters, and the total water storage capacity is about 200 million tons. There is also a pleasure boat on the Lake Kurobe.
Eihei-Ji Temple (Fukui)
“Eiheiji Temple”, has been attracting many visitors as a two-star in the travel guide “Michelin Green Guide Japan”.
Eiheiji temple was founded in 1244 by Dogen, the founder of the Soto sect.
On the site where the 680-year-old cedar exists, there are more than 70 towers. In the treasure hall, there are many national treasures such as Dogen Zen meditation “Fukanzazengi” and important cultural properties.
In particular, the 230 traditional Japanese arts on the ceiling cannot be overlooked.
Shirakawago (Gifu) And Gokayama Gassho no Sato (Toyama)
The Historic Villages of Shirakawa-gō and Gokayama are one of Japan’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which consists of three historic mountain villages. Shirakawa-gō (白川郷) is located in the Shirakawa village in Gifu Prefecture, and the Gokayama (五箇山) villages are located in two sections in Toyama Prefecture.
The reason why these secluded villages in valleys, deep mountains are very famous is that their farmhouses called Gasshō-zukuri (合掌造り), which are designed to easily shed snow from their roofs.
The snow-covered gassho-zukuri village is worth seeing.
In the night illumination, the quiet houses emerge in the darkness, which is very fantastic. You can experience a “stunning view of winter” that looks like a scene from a Japanese folk tale.
Takayama City (Gifu)
As the most popular tourist spot in Takayama city, “Old Towns” and “Sanmachi suji” in downtown have been selected as important traditional buildings preservation districts of the country.
The contrast with old buildings and pure white snow is so beautiful, which makes the scenery of the ancient city even more impressive.
The Shinhotaka Ropeway (Gifu)
If you visit Gero & Takayama city, Gifu in the winter season must have a great experience Gondola ride looking down Japan alps. You will forget breathing due to the stunning snow mountains view from 2-story Gondola.
The Gozaisho Ropeway (Mie)
A ropeway that connects Yunoyama Onsen and the summit, which has a total length of 2161m and an altitude of 400m. You can enjoy the stunning view that seasonal changes such as fresh greenery, autumn leaves, and snow. If you are lucky, you can see the Japanese serow jumping on the rocks.
You can also see the spectacular winter scenery, frozen waterfalls, rime trees.
Yokoyama Onsen Town
Yunoyama Onsen (hot springs) town is located on the east side of the foot of Mt. Gozaisho, Mie prefecture. Surrounded by great nature, very calm atmosphere, many tourists visit to be relaxed, to enjoy mountain activities.