Craving Snowy Landscapes? Come Experience Winter in Japan!

Craving Snowy Landscapes? Come Experience Winter in Japan! Excursion

Does it snow where you live? In fact, Japan is one of the world’s “snowiest countries”. So, if you are longing for a silvery snowy landscape, Japan is the perfect destination for you. Does it snow in Tokyo? I would answer, “If you are lucky”. But at the same time, in a way, I could say it’s bad luck.

What do you want to do in a place with snow? In this article, I will introduce you to places where you can encounter snow for different purposes.

Playing in the snow

If you want to be able to see and touch snow, you should go to Hokkaido between December and March. You can almost certainly see snow wherever you go in Hokkaido. You don’t have to go to the mountains to see snow, just go to major cities such as Sapporo, Otaru, and Asahikawa. However, Hakodate in December may be snow-free depending on the year.

Winter Sports

If you want to try skiing or snowboarding, I recommend Gala Yuzawa. This ski resort is located in Niigata Prefecture and is conveniently connected to the Shinkansen station. It takes about one hour from Tokyo Station. There is a snow play area for children and slopes for beginners, so beginners and children can enjoy skiing together.

The Karuizawa Prince ski resort is also close to the Shinkansen station and has artificial snow machines, so there is no need to worry about closure even if there is little snow due to a mild winter. A huge outlet mall is also adjacent to the resort, making it a good option to enjoy skiing for a few hours and then go shopping.

Spectacular View Created by Snow

Sapporo Snow Festival

One of the most spectacular snow festivals in Japan is the Sapporo Snow Festival, held every February in Sapporo, Hokkaido. Odori Park in the center of Sapporo is the main stage for the festival, which is lined with snow and ice statues of various sizes.

Odori Park

With a history of more than 70 years, it is one of the most popular winter events that attracts many visitors from Japan and abroad.

Ginzan Onsen


Ginzan Onsen in Yamagata Prefecture is popular not only for its hot springs themselves, but also for the beauty of the hot spring resort area. The retro atmosphere with a blend of Japanese and Western influences is reminiscent of the Taisho Era (1912-1926) and is known as “Taisho Roman” (Taisho Romantic). The mood is further enhanced when snow piles up there. It is especially beautiful at night when the gas lamps are lit.

Tips for Traveling in Snow Season

Japan’s Shinkansen trains are not subject to major delays or cancellations if there is a little snow. But of course, a blizzard or heavy snowfall is a different story. The Yamagata Shinkansen and Akita Shinkansen are particularly prone to stoppages when heavy snow falls. If you have a tight schedule, choose a route along the Tohoku Shinkansen or the Joetsu Shinkansen. These two bullet trains are not likely to be cancelled unless the weather is very bad.

Station in heavy snow

Even though Hokkaido is accustomed to snow, if there is too much snow at the airport, flights will be cancelled. However, Asahikawa Airport is known for its low winter cancellation rate.

In any case, if you are planning to travel to a snow country during the snow season, it is recommended that you allow plenty of time for your itinerary.

Snow Damage

You may not have the impression that winters in Japan are that severe because it doesn’t snow much in big cities such as Tokyo and Osaka. So you will be surprised to hear this. In Japan, heavy snowfall zones are defined as areas where there are more than 100 days a year with snowfall of 50 cm or more, preventing residents from improving their living standards. The area of these heavy snowfall zones accounts for half of Japan’s total land area. One of the most famous areas for heavy snowfall is Sukayu in Aomori Prefecture, where an average of 17 meters of snow falls annually.

Many of the heavy snowfall areas overlap with depopulated areas, and some of them are no longer able to cope with the snow. Snow is beautiful, but there are certain hardships involved in living there.

Snow in Tokyo

When I hear that it is going to snow tomorrow, I am happy if tomorrow is my day off. But if I have to go to work, I will be in trouble. It is not that unusual for it to snow in Tokyo. It usually snows for a few days in January and February. When it does snow, it usually doesn’t accumulate or melts quickly. However, even a few centimeters of snow is a big problem. Transportation is often affected and accidents occur. The city of Tokyo, which is not accustomed to snow, is thrown into chaos.

snow in tokyo

Still, I love those moments when I can feel the hint of snowfall in the silence.

Why not spend your next winter in Japan?