Spring is not the only season you can see and do a lot of things in Japan. Whether it may be summer, spring, winter, or fall, there is a lot to do in Japan if you know where to go. Usually, winter in Japan is from the months of December to February, and while some areas in Japan experience snowfall while some don’t, but all of them do experience the cold.
- Skiing and Snowboarding
If you are into winter sports, Japan is a recommended destination for skiing and snowboarding. Usually from the months of November to May, winter sports enthusiasts flock to the ski resorts in Japan, usually up north or in the mountains. While the courses are not as steep compared to other countries, the ski resorts in Japan are perfect for those in the beginner and intermediate level.
- Winter Festivals
Having snow won’t stop Japan from having their festivals, of course. The Japanese have different winter festivals during the season. One of the more known festivals is the Sapporo Snow Festival, held for a week in the month of February. The main attraction in this festival is the ice and snow sculptures displayed in three different sites in Sapporo. There are even activities such as snow slides and snow rafting done during the festival. Another festival in Hokkaido is the Asahikawa Winter Festival, smaller compared to the Sapporo Snow Festival, but still as grand.
- Plum Blossoms
Plum blossoms bloom a little earlier than cherry blossoms. Less popular than the cherry blossoms, but is equally beautiful, and marks the end of winter. If you find yourself being in Japan a little bit earlier than the spring season but a bit late for the winter season, you may find yourself passing by these beautiful flower trees and might even encounter a plum blossom festival.
- Sumo New Year Basho
Being in Japan during winter is one of the best times to watch a sumo tournament. The Sumo New Year Basho, held during the month of January, is one of the six Grand Tournaments in Japan. Welcome the new year with some good ol’ sumo competition.
- Ohmato Taikai
Another sport done during the winter season is the Ohmato Taikai, or archery competition, held during the second Sunday of January. This competition is held in the Sanjusangendo Temple in Kyoto. The event is full of tradition, being a 400-year-old competition, with about 2,000 contestants using traditional archery equipment.
Being surrounded by heat during a cold winter day is one of the greatest, and comforting feelings in the world. You can find places all over Japan that has a rotenburo – an outdoor hot spring bath – take a dip in it while admiring a snow covered view of the place. The thought of bathing outside maybe scary – and very cold – in winter, but there is a relaxing and freeing feeling in taking a natural hot spring bath while watching the snow fall down from the skies.