Japan in the winter
Summer, spring and autumn have their charms, but winter is a wonderful (and too often overlooked) season to travel to Japan.
Most people choose to visit Japan in the temperate spring and autumn, when the cherry blossom is in full bloom or the leaves turning spectacular oranges and reds. Others choose summer, when the weather is hot and the landscapes luscious and green.
Comparatively few tourists visit Japan in the depths of winter, but we know that they're missing a trick! Winter in Japan is a wonderful season to travel, and boasts many exciting experiences that cannot be found at any other time of year.
To begin with, there are much fewer crowds in the winter months, meaning that even iconic sights can be almost deserted. Then there is the winter food and drink - warm sake and nabe hotpot eaten with your feet nestled under a kotatsu heated table. Then there are the onsen-bathing snow monkeys of Yudanaka and the spectacular mating dance of the tancho red-crowned crane in Hokkaido. Then there are the winter illuminations and festivals - most notably the incredible, giant snow sculptures of the Yuki Matsuri in Sapporo.
And who could forget the snowsports? Japan is a paradise for ski and snowboard lovers, with over 500 resorts and some of the world's best and most reliable powder snow. Then, after a chilly day of sightseeing or skiing, there are the onsen hot springs where you can rest your weary muscles with snowflakes falling all around.
If you need any more persuasion than all that, just have a click through some of our winter experiences to find out more!
Give your legs a rest and let the snowmobile do all the work, providing full throttle fun through Niseko backcountry and woodlands.
Take a break from the Niseko slopes and learn how to build your very own igloo.
Don't miss the famous snow monkeys enjoying bath time at Yudanaka Onsen.
Fly across the slopes in an inflatable raft attached to a snowmobile. Sound like fun?
Detach yourself from civilisation for the day with your own expert private backcountry guide.
Ski between snow monsters on the slopes of Mount Zao
Snowshoe & fondue
Snowshoe across pristine white snow, see wild foxes & snow rabbits, eat chocolate fondue served with hot spiced wine. What could be better than that?!
The 1998 Olympic downhill course
Challenge yourself against the world's best with a high speed descent of the Olympic downhill course.
Experience après-ski that's gloriously Japanese!
Strap on some snowshoes and explore winter scenery at a tranquil pace