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Winter Tours in Japan

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The surprise package of traveling in Japan in winter 2024/2025!

Our 2024/2025 Winter Tours of Japan showcase the Japanese winter, unique winter festivals, food, culture and breathtakingly beautiful snow-covered landscape.

Traveling Japan in winter is not just about skiing or snowboarding. Journey to the East Winter Tours offer the opportunity to experience what is uniquely Japanese in winter. You will be up close with the cute Snow Monkeys , experiencing the unforgettable Sapporo Snow Festival , witnessing drift ice in the Okhotsk, or seeing graceful red-crested cranes dancing in a field of snow . At Christmas time, White Christmas in Japan is on the cards. We will show you the stunning winter light-ups and snow-covered castles. Naturally, these winter holidays in Japan also introduce you to the Japanese winter customs. Especially towards the New Year’s Day , you will see the festive mood all over the country.

Why not travel Japan in the 2024/2025 winter season pre or post ski trip, or on its own, and create a unique memory of winter.

Signature Our Signature tours offer the most comprehensive cultural exposure.

Discovery Our Discovery tours provide up-and-close encounters with traditional life and natural landscapes into the more remote regions of Japan.

Comfort With a focus on comfort and ease, our Comfort tours deliver an authentic experience with a few extra creature comforts to make for a more relaxed and supported trip.

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Winter (Dec – Feb)

14 day tour

2024 white christmas tour of japan, 13 day tour, 2025 snow spectacular tour of japan, more about japan, winter tours features, why travel with us, accommodation styles, related articles, sapporo snow festival (february 2024).

The internationally popular Sapporo Snow Festival is featured in the 2024 Snow Spectacular Tour of Japan. The tour offers only two departures, and spaces are limited. Be quick and don’t miss out!

White Christmas in Japan

Ever thought of a white Xmas in Japan? We have a very special White Christmas Tour in Japan in December 2023. The tour covers the snowy Japan Alps region in Honshu as well as the northern island of Hokkaido. The tour is truly unique.

At Journey to the East we are committed to providing authentic and most memorable experiences in Japan – for both Small Group Tours and custom-built Private Tours. Whether it is your first visit or you have been several times to Japan, you will always find something new and have special experiences with Journey to the East. Our travel style is chosen to immerse you in the culture and landscape of the country and expose you to a rich variety of unique experiences.

We do this by taking you beyond the tourist hotspots to explore the lesser-known parts of Japan. Our tours are designed to strike the right balance between the classic highlights and local secrets, the urban and the rural, the historic and the contemporary, and in doing so, reveal the true heart of Japan.

With Journey to the East, you will have fun and be safe on your deeply rewarding journey through this endlessly fascinating country!

We are specialists that just handle tours within one country, Japan. Whether you are from the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand or beyond we meet you at the airport upon arrival into Japan and ensure a smooth and stress-free time in a foreign land.

Ryokans is a Japanese style accommodation, mostly consists of Japanese style rooms with tatami matt floor and futon bedding, and private ensuite. Some ryokans have a western style room with beds. A Japanese style room always has a low table and flat cushions to sit on, but the room may or may not have chairs. Most ryokans have an additional large public bath for guests and includes kaiseki style dinner. Breakfast can be Japanese style (rice, miso soup, fish etc.) or western style buffet.

Western Style Hotels

Size and standard vary from 5-star large international chains to regional small business hotels. Generally, in Japan twin rooms (two single beds) are more common than double rooms (one double bed), and some hotels in regional cities only have twin rooms. Room sizes are generally smaller in cities. Also beds and pillows tend to be firmer than those in western countries.

Shukubo (temple lodging)

The vast majority have Japanese style rooms and shared bathroom although there are limited number of temples with a western bedroom with ensuite. The stay at shukubo includes Buddhist vegetarian dinner and breakfast. Dinners are served early, around 5pm. They are run by monks, and facility and services are basic. Guests can attend morning service in the main hall.

japan tours winter 2023

Valentine’s Day in Japan

japan tours winter 2023

Winter in Hokkaido and Sapporo snow festival

japan tours winter 2023

Christmas and New Year in Japan

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  • Winter 2024/2025 Tours

Tours and Trip Packages to Japan in Winter 2024/2025

Traveling to Japan in Winter 2024/2025? We offer 98 tours, trips and vacation packages to Japan in Winter 2024/2025. Our Japan in Winter 2024/2025 tour packages and trips have 164 customer reviews. All the Japan Winter 2024/2025 tour packages and trips are carried out by hand-picked, qualified local and international Japan tour operators.

  • Japan Travel Guide
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  • Best Time to Visit Japan

98 Trips in Japan during Winter 2024/2025

Japan Express Tour

  • Starts Tokyo, Japan
  • Ends Kyoto, Japan

Japan Express

  • Best price guaranteed
  • No booking fees
  • Tour Type Small Group Tour
  • Activities City sightseeing & Local culture City sightseeing , Local culture , Museum and gallery visits , Natural landmarks sightseeing & Cultural, religious and historic sites 'data-more-tripid='3101'>+3 more
  • Accommodation Hotel & Hostel
  • Transport Train, Bus, Private Vehicle & Bullet Train
  • Age Range 15-99 yrs
  • Operated in English
  • Brochure Price: US$ 2,355
  • Special Deal (10%): - US$ 235
  • Total Price from: US$ 2,120
  • Feb 17 Only 6 seats left
  • View More Jan 1, 2019 Jan 2, 2019 Jan 3, 2019

Epic Japan: Speed Trains & Street Food Tour

  • Ends Osaka, Japan

Epic Japan: Speed Trains & Street Food

  • Activities City sightseeing & Cultural, religious and historic sites City sightseeing , Cultural, religious and historic sites , Museum and gallery visits & Art and architecture 'data-more-tripid='4498'>+2 more
  • Accommodation Hostel
  • Transport Train, Bus, Ferry & Bullet Train
  • Age Range 18-39 yrs
  • Mar 30 Only 5 seats left
  • Apr 04 Only 8 seats left

Japan 14 Day Adventure Tour

  • Ends Hiroshima, Japan

Japan 14 Day Adventure Tour

  • Tour Type Group Tour
  • Activities Adventure & Local culture Adventure , Local culture , Food tours , Trekking and Hiking , Cultural, religious and historic sites & Natural landmarks sightseeing 'data-more-tripid='37182'>+4 more
  • Accommodation Guest House & Hostel
  • Transport Bullet Train, Bus, Ferry, Private Vehicle & Train
  • Age Range 18-79 yrs

Japan: Land Of The Rising Sun Tour

Japan: Land of the Rising Sun

  • Activities City sightseeing & Local culture City sightseeing , Local culture , Cultural, religious and historic sites , Art and architecture & Natural landmarks sightseeing 'data-more-tripid='3102'>+3 more
  • Accommodation Hotel & Resort
  • Transport Boat, Ferry, Train, Bus, Private Vehicle & Bullet Train
  • Brochure Price: US$ 6,080
  • Special Deal (20%): - US$ 1,216
  • Total Price from: US$ 4,864
  • Feb 25 Only 5 seats left

Backroads Of Japan Tour

Backroads of Japan

  • Activities Trekking and Hiking & Adventure
  • Accommodation Hotel
  • Transport Train, Bus, Bullet Train & Taxi
  • Age Range 18-99 yrs
  • Mar 03 Only 9 seats left
  • May 12 Only 3 seats left

Japan Express: Osaka To Tokyo Tour

  • Starts Osaka, Japan
  • Ends Tokyo, Japan

Japan Express: Osaka to Tokyo

  • Activities Cultural, religious and historic sites & Natural landmarks sightseeing Cultural, religious and historic sites , Natural landmarks sightseeing , Cruise & Hot springs 'data-more-tripid='4496'>+2 more
  • Transport Boat, Ferry, Train, Bus & Bullet Train
  • Age Range 12-95 yrs
  • Mar 04 Only 2 seats left
  • Mar 30 Only 1 seat left

Discover Japan Tour

Discover Japan

  • Activities Cultural, religious and historic sites & Art and architecture Cultural, religious and historic sites , Art and architecture , Local culture , Natural landmarks sightseeing & City sightseeing 'data-more-tripid='4493'>+3 more
  • Transport Ferry, Train, Bus & Bullet Train
  • Feb 18 Only 6 seats left

Trending Destinations in Japan


  • Starts Kyoto, Japan

Japan: Castles & Cuisine

  • Activities Museum and gallery visits & Sailing, yachting and motor boating Museum and gallery visits , Sailing, yachting and motor boating & Cultural, religious and historic sites 'data-more-tripid='9960'>+1 more
  • Transport Ferry, Train & Bullet Train
  • Feb 29 Only 2 seats left

Japan 10 Day Adventure Tour

Japan 10 Day Adventure Tour

  • Activities Adventure & Local culture Adventure , Local culture , Trekking and Hiking , Cultural, religious and historic sites , Food tours , Natural landmarks sightseeing & Sightseeing Tours 'data-more-tripid='37101'>+5 more
  • Transport Boat, Bullet Train & Private Vehicle
  • Age Range 18-70 yrs

Ultimate Japan Tour

Ultimate Japan

  • Activities Explorer & Cultural, religious and historic sites Explorer , Cultural, religious and historic sites , Adventure & Sightseeing Tours 'data-more-tripid='36191'>+2 more
  • Accommodation Hotel, Lodge, Resort & Villa
  • Transport Bullet Train, Bus, Private Vehicle, Train, Boat & Ferry
  • Brochure Price: US$ 7,545
  • Special Deal (45%): - US$ 3,395
  • Total Price from: US$ 4,150
  • May 11 Only 7 seats left
  • May 18 Only 3 seats left

Japan: Tokyo Nights & Kyoto Temples Tour

Japan: Tokyo Nights & Kyoto Temples

  • Activities City sightseeing & Cultural, religious and historic sites
  • Transport Train, Bus & Bullet Train

Highlights Of Japan Tour

Highlights of Japan

  • Activities Sightseeing Tours & Adventure
  • Accommodation Hotel, Resort & Villa
  • Transport Bullet Train, Bus, Private Vehicle, Boat, Ferry & Train
  • Brochure Price: US$ 4,913
  • Special Deal (45%): - US$ 2,211
  • Total Price from: US$ 2,702
  • Mar 17 Only 4 seats left
  • Apr 07 10+ seats left

Essential Japan Tour

Essential Japan

  • Activities Adventure
  • Accommodation Hotel, Guest House & Hostel
  • Age Range 18-29 yrs
  • Brochure Price: US$ 1,830
  • Special Deal (5%): - US$ 92
  • Total Price from: US$ 1,738
  • Feb 25 Only 2 seats left

Japan Adventure Tour

Japan Adventure

  • Activities City sightseeing & Cultural, religious and historic sites City sightseeing , Cultural, religious and historic sites , Cooking classes , Party and nightlife , Meditation , National parks , Cruise , Wildlife , Samurai experience. , Wine tasting tours & Safari 'data-more-tripid='25002'>+9 more
  • Accommodation Hostel & Hotel
  • Transport Private Vehicle & Bullet Train
  • Age Range 18-55 yrs
  • Feb 18 Only 3 seats left
  • Feb 26 Only 10 seats left

Traveling to Japan? Chat with a local travel specialist in Japan who can help organize your trip.

Alan Williams

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japan tours winter 2023

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Winter 2024 Tours & Vacation Packages Japan

120 japan vacation packages in december, january and february.

All Inclusive Japan Classics- 9 days Tour

  • In-depth Cultural
  • Active Adventure
  • Christmas & New Year

All Inclusive Japan Classics- 9 days

"I could say the trip I like it , but I have 1 - they did not cover the transportation took me from airport to hotel in first day 2- I visited alot temples 3- guide ask tips individual then she say I ask the group in the bus which not happened"

10 Days Splendid Japan with Nagoya (3 star hotels) Tour

10 Days Splendid Japan with Nagoya (3 star hotels)

"Two of my friends and I were on a tour with this travel company in Japan. We traveled for two amazing weeks. The tour was great and we saw most of everything we had on our list. The trip was well organized by the company. the price was suitable for my budget! Customer service was awesome! Highly recommend!"

Epic Japan: Speed Trains & Street Food Tour

  • Train & Rail

Epic Japan: Speed Trains & Street Food

"Amazing trip with a fantastic tour guide. Our guide, Mack, went above and beyond to provide an amazing experience in Japan. Easily, the best tour I've done with G Adventures!"

Japan Express Tour

Japan Express

"Guide was excellent however took us only to the free places and the tour guidance lasted till 1300 usually and thus you are on your own to scramble to make plans for the rest of the day and figure out how to get there etc. Seems like I paid a lot of money for the minimal touring I received from Intrepid."

Wonders of Japan End Osaka Tour

  • Coach / Bus

Wonders of Japan End Osaka

"Great tour but need to point out a few things. Ken, knew his stuff but was very political.Said he hated his PM and mentioned he was also adding a tax for tourists. He also mentioned that immigrants - 2 million brought bad culture. He talked about the dirty street in Kyoto where we spent an evening shopping, had dirtied the area. Before booking it would be nice to mention there is a lot of climbing and walking - we over 82+ had to sit out of some of the sightseeing. What we saw we loved Japan and the tour."

Essential Japan Tour

Essential Japan

"The tour was well organised and good value for money. Paco's commentary was insightful and always interesting. The accommodation was mostly good and at Mt Fuji and Kyoto it was excellent but Shinagawa Prince on Tokyo was dated and the beds very hard. The variety of food both arranged and casual, was wonderful and the traditional menus were an introduction to a whole new range of tastes. The itinerary was busy and active. All places visited were interesting. However, there could have been a little more variety with fewer shrines/temples and more of modern Japan. Also, at Toyota there was a museum or display of latest developments in motoring. This would have been a better option than the car museum. Having said this, I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and recommend it for first-time visitors to Japan."

Japan Express: Osaka to Tokyo Tour

Japan Express: Osaka to Tokyo

"I couldn't be happier with the tour"

9 Days Stunning Japan with Shirakawa-go (3 star hotels) Tour

9 Days Stunning Japan with Shirakawa-go (3 star hotels)

"My husband and I used Stunning Tours for our honeymoon and we had a wonderful experiences. We made friends with our guides and got to ask more questions and go to more places that we really wanted to see. The hotels were fantastic and transportation was easy with our guide. My husband and I can’t wait to go back to Japan and would definitely book with them again with our friends!"

Japan One Life Adventures - 10 Days Tour

Japan One Life Adventures - 10 Days

"I absolutely loved this tour. All transportation tickets/timetables was taken care of by the guide. Anyone who has traveled knows that getting around a country where you don’t speak the language is often the hardest part of the tour. People interested in this package must be forewarned: there is ALOT of walking. A lot. I averaged 20k steps a day. There’s just no getting around walking a lot. The variety of activities planned was perfect. From group time to individual time, you get plenty of both. Be forewarned: you will be sharing accommodations in a couple of the spots so don’t be surprised. To me, that just added to the experience of group traveling. This tour package includes lots of small group stuff like a private sushi making class, kendo lesson, walking food tour. Loved the mix of scheduled events vs free time. HIGHLY recommend this package"

Japan Adventure Tour

Japan Adventure

"Just finished the most amazing tour of Japan, I hate planning things so the trip was perfect and had everything I wanted to do. Rachel is the best tour guide anyone could ask for 10/10, I would very happily do more of her tours x"

Hidden Tokyo Experience Tour

Hidden Tokyo Experience

"An excellent tour for people who want to learn how to travel Tokyo and Japan in general comfortably alone and on a budget! Also check their own website for hotter deals."

7 Days Customized Best Japan Tour, Private & Daily Departure Tour

  • Festival & Events

7 Days Customized Best Japan Tour, Private & Daily Departure

  • Book With Flexibility This operator allows you to rebook your dates or tours with them for free, waiving change fees.

South Japan Express Tour

South Japan Express

"A really good introduction to this part of Japan. All arrangements worked out for me and Jose looked after us very well."

Japan One Life Adventures - 14 Days Tour

Japan One Life Adventures - 14 Days

"This tour was absolutely incredible! This was my third tour with OneLife Adventures and I must say they NEVER disappoint. I felt like we did so much in the 2 weeks but I am so happy with the itinerary. Craig and Holly were our tour guides and they both were amazing. Both are clearly passionate about Japan and really do make sure you are having an awesome time as a guest. I would 1000% recommend booking this tour!"

Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka Tour

  • Sightseeing

Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka

Reviews of japan tours in winter.

"This tour was fantastic. The tour owners are foodies so we were told and it showed. The tour itself was terrific and well organized but on top of that the restaurant and other food choices etc. were just stellar."
"I would have rated the experience as Excellent, had I and others on the tour not been told to book our flights to leave from an airport that was much further and altogether harder to get to from the final hotel location. The closer airport would have cost less to fly out from, causing even more of an expense."
"Japan was so fun! A looooooot of free time so do you researches about what to do and visit in every city. Would have love more ''organised'' activities (like a dinner every night with the group,...). Compared to other G Adventures tour I did in the past, I felt that this group was less stick together since there was only a few group activities."


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  • Deutsch: Japan im Winter 2024
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7 Days Winter Discovery | Snow Monkey

  • From Kyoto(Osaka) To Tokyo
  • Friday, December 29, 2023 Updated

Winter Discovery | Snow Monkey

Book Now Promotion

Enjoy up to USD 600 off Tours from May 2024 onwards

No Promo Code required


Tour Descriptions

  • Dates & Quote
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Tour Departure and Prices 1) Price per person.    2) Airfare is not included.  

Winter Discovery | Snow Monkey Tour Map

Tour Includes

  • - Travel Insurance
  • - Optional Excursions

Travel Highlights

Important information, maximum group size.

The maximum number of participants will not exceed 26 people during your Japan tour. Your group may be joined with other tour groups during the tour. Please note that your bus and tour guide may be changed if other groups join the tour.

Single Supplement

Single travelers are required to pay a single supplement in order to guarantee single room accommodation.

We request one suitcase, one carry-on bag, and an overnight bag per person. The tote bag we provide can be used to hold any small merchandise/souvenirs purchased during your tour. When you check out, bring your luggage to the lobby and the bus driver will assist in loading it onto the bus. When you arrive at the next hotel, the bus driver will unload your luggage for you to bring to your room. Please note: The maximum weight of a checked in bag is typically 20 Kilograms or 44 Pounds. You will be traveling with your luggage except during the bullet train ride (if applicable).


All hotel rooms come with a full bathroom and room amenities free of charge unless stated otherwise.


All motor coaches come equipped with air-conditioning, plenty of space, comfortable seats, and Wi-Fi.

International Flights

All of our tours begin in either Tokyo or Osaka/Kyoto. When beginning or ending a tour in Tokyo, please book flights to or from Narita International Airport or Haneda International Airport. For tours beginning or ending in Osaka/Kyoto, please book flights to or from Kansai International Airport or Itami Airport. We recommend you do not book your flights until the tour status changes from Book Now to Guaranteed Departure . You can also contact us if you would like for Japan Deluxe Tour's to arrange your flights.

Fitness & Shoes

Traveling and visiting sights in Japan includes a good amount of walking. To fully enjoy the tour, please be prepared to keep up with the pace of the group, climb stairs with no difficulty, and wear comfortable shoes for all day use.

Guests with tattoos may not be able to use the hot-springs or onsens while in Japan. We apologize if you are unable to enjoy this experience during your stay.

Meals & Dietary Requirements

Please notify us before your tour starts if you have any dietary restrictions or requirements we should be aware about. Japan Deluxe Tours can provide Vegetarian meals for guests, and we will do our best to cater to any serious allergies or dietary restrictions. We will not be able to substitute or change meals after your tour begins.

  • B :Breakfast

Dining Experience

Kaiseki Ryori

Kaiseki Ryori

Kaiten Sushi

Kaiten Sushi

Teppan-Yaki Display

Seasonal Japanese Dining

Cultural experience.

Wild Snow Monkeys

Wild Snow Monkeys

Green Tea Ceremony

Green Tea Ceremony

Image of a Maiko

Maiko Dining Experience

Japanese Style Hotel with Tatami mat

Japanese Style Hotel

Hot Spring

Sake Tasting

Riding experience.

Bullet Train

Bullet Train


Hakone Ropeway

Winter Discovery | Snow Monkey

Keep connected to the internet during your tour with a data SIM Card. This only provides wifi connection, not a phone number. ※Please check if your device is compatible with the SIM Card. ※If you live outside the U.S., you cannot select the SIM card.

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Japan Tours & Holidays

Group on the famous Shinjuku Crossing in Tokyo, Japan with the colourful neo signs in the background

Beautiful landscapes? Check. Cultural experiences? Check. Tastebud-tingling food? Check. Our Japan tours have it all.

There’s a certain allure to Japan – a place where eastern tradition and western modernity collide among otherworldly scenery that’ll take your breath away and refuse to give it back. Add mouthwatering cuisine, a fascinating history, and a multifaceted culture into the mix and it's easy to understand how Japan continues to captivate travellers. From enjoying a sake tasting at a local brewery and soaking in a steaming hot onsen to marvelling at World Heritage-listed temples thousands of years old, our tours in Japan promise the ultimate adventure: one you’ll continue to think about long after you return home. 

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Japan: Land of the Rising Sun

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Japan at a glance

Capital city.

Tokyo (population approximately 37 million)

Approximately 123.1 million

(GMT+09:00) Osaka, Sapporo, Tokyo



Type A (North American/Japanese 2-pin) Type B (American 3-pin)

Learn more about Japan

Culture and customs.

Japan is a multifaceted country made up of many different cultures, rituals, and traditions influenced by Confucianism (introduced in AD285), Buddhism (introduced in AD552), and Shintoism (Japan’s ritualistic native religion). The rise of technology and international trendsetting has also played a part in the culture of Japan today as the younger generation embraces fashion-forwardness, online personas, and high-tech gadgets.

This is in direct contrast to the Confucian-influenced, old-school Japanese culture that the older generations still live by, with a larger emphasis on modesty, respect, and discipline. This can sometimes cause conflict between the two demographics, however, there are still some traditions that are considered sacred regardless of age – tea ceremonies, bowing, kendo, geisha, and sumo.

Visit ancient temples and walk history-laden pilgrim routes on our 8 day Koya-san & Kumano Trek.

History and government

Japan has had an interesting past with its ancient history, pre-modern history, and 20th-century history all influencing the country we all know and love today.

Ancient history

While there is evidence the archipelago has been occupied by humans for around 35,000 years, what we know now as ‘Japan’ began to take shape about 1700 years ago as disparate tribes started to unify.

Pre-modern history

Over the centuries, Japan has alternated between feudal, empirical, religious and government rule, with each period birthing different styles of art, architecture and spirituality. Buddhism and Confucianism, introduced in 552 BC and AD 285, respectively, both proved massively influential on the class structures and governance of pre-modern Japan. You can still visit and stay in many Buddhist temples in Japan today.

20th century

It’s difficult to discuss the emergence of modern Japan without talking about WWII. During the war, the Empire of Japan used aggressive military tactics in an attempt to expand its reach and control in Asia and elsewhere. In response, the US Army instigated a strategic bombing campaign that included the notorious use of nuclear weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The result of these attacks was mass human and structural devastation.

These bombings, along with depleted armed forces and the looming threat of invasion from the Soviet Union, led the Empire of Japan to surrender unconditionally to the Allies in September 1945.

The ‘Empire of Japan’ became ‘Japan’ as part of the extensive terms of surrender, and the nation faced the prospect of rebuilding and reinventing itself in the second half of the 20th century.    

Reflect on the historic and sobering sites of Hiroshima and Nagasaki while on a 24 day Ultimate Japan tour.

After WWII, Japan found its feet operating as a free-market economy based around the manufacture and export of automobiles and electronics, experiencing particularly rapid growth between 1960 and the late 1980s. The late 20th century saw the country emerge as an economic superpower, and with that came the flourishing of several cultural sectors, such as the arts and cuisine. 

Experience Japan's historic sites on a 13 day Land of the Rising Sun tour.

Top places to visit in Japan

One minute you’re walking through a former black-market quarter, the next you’re paying your respects at a 1400-year-old temple. Eclectic Tokyo is an essential part of any visit to Japan.

Wander through the streets of Tokyo on our 12 day Classic Japan tour.

If you’ve ever eaten at a sushi train restaurant, you’ve got the underrated city of Osaka to thank! The motto in this city is 'kuidaore' which roughly translates as ‘eat until you drop’ . You can consider that a (friendly) order.

Experience Osaka on our 12 day Japan Family Holiday.

The home of temples, palaces and the Gion district (where geisha live and work), Kyoto is also where you’ll find the famed Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine.

Spot Geisha in Kyoto on our 9 day Japan Express tour.

4. Kanazawa

A great place to see a slice of old Japan, with classic sculpted gardens, a restored Old Town and well-preserved architecture from a variety of eras.

Explore Kanazawa on our 11 day Cycle Japan tour or on our 10 day Essential Japan adventure.

5. Hiroshima

Most travellers visit Hiroshima to see the Peace Memorial Park, constructed around the hypocentre of the atomic bomb that destroyed the city in 1945. Follow this up with nearby Miyajima, a tranquil island where tame deer roam the streets. 

6. Yudanaka

This quaint resort town is best experienced in the winter, when snow coats the normally evergreen trees and Japanese macaques come down from the mountains to bathe and groom each other in the steaming natural hot springs of Jigokudani (Hell Valley).

Geography and environment

Japan is an archipelago of more than 6000 islands located in the Pacific Ocean in Asia . The main islands are Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku. Lying on the Pacific Ring of Fire, Japan is prone to destructive earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic activity. The most famous volcano, Mount Fuji , is also Japan's highest peak and only 100km from Tokyo.

Japan has plenty of forested, mountainous terrain that is unsuitable for agriculture and development, so much of the population lives in the coastal cities. This has led Japan to become one of the most densely populated countries in the world and the majority of its inhabitants are used to living in very small spaces, with a heavy reliance on public transport.

Although life is fast-paced and crowded in cities like Tokyo and Osaka, rural areas typically feature low-density, traditional housing and a slower pace of life surrounded by greenery such as lush forests and plenty of moss-covered boulders. 

Traverse mountains, cycle coastlines and meander through forests on a 12 day Japan: Hike, Bike and Kayak tour.

Shopping in Japan is fun but expensive, so be sure to have a budget for souvenirs planned in advance! In cities like Tokyo, there are loads of quirky stores and funky galleries showcasing the works of independent fashion designers and gadget creators. From the outlandish to the kitsch, you're guaranteed to find loads of colourful clothing and edgy art that you won't be able to find elsewhere. 

If you’re planning to bring back leaf tea or any other perishable or edible items, it's a good idea to check with your local customs officials to ensure that you are able to bring certain items back into your home country. Australia and New Zealand, in particular, have strict quarantine laws.

What to buy

  • Kimonos This quintessential Japanese souvenir looks great hung on the wall as an interesting decorative piece. If you plan on wearing one, make sure you do so respectfully and learn the correct way to fold the garment.

Paper lanterns, kites and fans Japanese paper goods make great, relatively inexpensive souvenirs. Choose from high-quality, traditionally-made kites or delicate rice paper lanterns.

Electronics Shops in Japan are bursting with the latest tech gadgets. Just be sure to check that they are compatible for use at home.

Fashion Have fun with the amazing diversity of popular street culture fashion available in Japan. Vibrant, brash and sometimes bizarre – find something that no one back at home will be wearing.

Anime and manga paraphernalia Another inexpensive gift option, even for people who can’t read Japanese. Pick up a book, magazine, t-shirt or print from one of Japan’s many anime and manga stores

Festivals and events

If you want an adventure with a point of difference, consider planning your travels to coincide with these popular festive events in Japan. 

Sapporo Winter Festival

Held every February since 1950, this festival features hundreds of statues and ice sculptures, snow slides and mazes, regional food and artistic performances. Winter in Japan is truly amazing, and the Sapporo Winter Festival is a magical way to celebrate.

Hadaka Matsuri

Head to Okayama to watch thousands of men wearing nothing but loincloths vie to touch the chosen 'naked man'. It may look like a bizarre male-bonding exercise but it's actually a historic cleansing ritual dating back thousands of years. Dates change yearly.

Fuji Rock Festival

Held annually in the stunning surroundings of the Naeba Ski Resort, this outdoor music festival is huge and draws in big-name acts and local bands Thousands of music lovers flock to Naeba for three days of camping, music and partying in the summer months. 

Read more about festivals in Japan

Further reading

For inspiring stories to prepare you for your Japan adventure, check out these books:

  • The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle – Haruki Murakami
  • Sembazuru – Yasunari Kawabata
  • Moshi Moshi – Banana Yoshimoto
  • Goodnight Punpun – Inio Asano
  • Okinawa Notes – Kenzaburo Oe
  •  A History of Japan – George Sansom
  • Embracing Defeat – John W Dower

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Japan travel FAQs

Do i need a covid-19 vaccine to join an intrepid trip.

Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).

However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

Do I need to purchase travel insurance before travelling?

Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance

Do I need a visa to travel to Japan?

Under current restrictions, a visa is required to enter Japan as a tourist. We recommend you apply for your visa no later than one month before your departure date. Please contact your local consulate or embassy for more information.

Is tipping customary in Japan?

Tipping isn't customary in Japan and is not expected – in fact, it will sometimes be considered impolite. Some inns or ryokans may leave a small envelope in your room where a small gratuity can be left for housekeeping staff.

What is the internet access like in Japan?

Internet access is excellent in Japan, with one of the most developed high-speed internet networks in the world. Internet cafes and wi-fi hotspots are easily found in most cities and major towns.

Can I use my mobile while in Japan?

Mobile phone coverage is excellent in Japan but be aware that talking loudly on your phone in public places (like in train carriages) is frowned upon. You will be expected to hide your mouth behind your hand if you must take a call in public. If you want to use your mobile phone, ensure global roaming is activated before you arrive (but be aware of the fees this may incur).

What are the toilets like in Japan?

In Japan, toilets range from high-tech bidets to standard western-style flushable toilets to squat toilets, which are still common outside the city. Sometimes you may need to pay for toilet paper, which can usually be purchased from a vending machine nearby.

What will it cost for a...?

Japan's unit of currency is the yen:

  • Bento box = YEN 550
  • Bowl of ramen = YEN 650-1,200
  • Can of beer = YEN 250
  • Coffee = YEN 100-600
  • Convenience store snack = YEN 200-500

Can I drink the water in Japan?

Drinking water from taps in Japan is considered safe. For environmental reasons, try to use a refillable water bottle rather than buying bottled water. Major cities often have water fountains in train stations.

Are credit cards widely accepted in Japan?

Major credit cards are accepted by some stores; however, Japan is still very much a cash culture and as such, some places may not accept credit cards. Ensure you carry enough cash to cover purchases.

What is ATM access like in Japan?

ATMs are common in Japan but unfortunately many of them don't accept foreign-issued cards. However, you can access cash from non-Japanese bank accounts via the Cirrus and Maestro systems at all post office ATMs around the country, as well as ATMs at 7-Eleven convenience stores.

What public holidays are celebrated in Japan?

  • 1 Jan: New Year's Day
  • *Coming of Age Day
  • 11 Feb: National Foundation Day
  • 23 Feb: Emperor's Birthday
  • *20 Mar: Vernal/Spring Equinox Day
  • 29 Apr: Showa Day
  • 3 May: Constitution Day
  • 4 May: Greenery Day
  • 5 May: Children's Day
  • *Jul: Marine Day, also known as Sea or Ocean Day
  • 11 Aug: Mountain Day
  • *Sep: Respect-for-the-Aged Day
  • *23 Sep: Autumnal Equinox Day
  • *Oct: Health and Sports Day
  • 3 Nov: Culture Day
  • 23 Nov: Labour Thanksgiving Day

* Please note, Japan public holidays may vary.

When is the best time to travel to Japan?

March, April and May are excellent months to holiday in Japan and, as a result, are the busiest. The weather is usually fine and beautiful cherry blossoms are in full bloom. September, October and November are also great months to visit Japan on holidays, as the days are warm but not humid and the autumn colours are out. Winter, while cold, offers great conditions for skiing, snowboarding, going to snow festivals and admiring the stunning mountain scenery. The summer months can be quite humid, but tourist areas are generally quieter and there are many fun festivals and fireworks displays to enjoy.

What is the weather like in Japan?

  • Spring (March to May): temperatures range from 10 to 20°C (50–70°F), with conditions getting sunnier and clearer towards the end of the season.
  • Summer (June to August): temperatures range from 21 to 32°C (70–90°F) depending on where you are. It’s warmer in the south than in the north. You can expect some rain in June, and it can get quite humid towards the end of the season.
  • Autumn (September to November): temperatures range from 7 to 20°C (45–65°F). The humidity starts to calm down in September, but days stay warm until October. Nights can be chilly.  
  • Winter (December to February): break out the coats, temperatures during winter range from 0 to 15°C (30–60°F). The mountains and the north experience snowfall .

How safe is Japan?

Japan is generally safe and is rated among the safest countries in the world. Reports of crime such as theft are very low and travellers are often stunned by the fact that locals leave belongings unaccompanied in cafes and bars (though we certainly don’t recommend it!). 

Is Japan safe for LGBTQIA+ travellers?

Travellers who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community shouldn’t have any issues visiting Japan with violence, outright hostility or overt discrimination extremely rare. However, Japan’s older generation still holds conservative values when it comes to queer sexuality and non-binary gender expression, especially those that live in regional areas.

Same-sex relationships are considered legal in some districts (such as Tokyo); however, same-sex marriage hasn’t been legalized yet. Public displays of affection are often frowned upon, regardless of sex, gender, or sexual orientation so keep that in mind when you’re out in public. 

For more detailed and up-to-date advice, we recommend visiting  Equaldex  or  ILGA  before you travel.

Is Japan accessible for travellers with disabilities?

Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. We’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and, where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.

The needs of travellers with mobility issues, including wheelchair users, are considered in the infrastructure in major cities. Train stations have lifts (elevators), wide turnstiles and (for the most part) raised platforms so that wheelchair users can glide onto the train without being assisted.  Sidewalks in Japanese cities are sometimes sloped towards the road, which can make travelling a straight line difficult for wheelchair users or people with vision impairment.

It is common practice in Japan to remove shoes when entering a home. Wheelchair users should carry something to wipe down their wheels in respect of this custom. Apply the same logic for other mobility aids such as canes.

Ryokans and other traditional accommodation can be difficult to navigate for people with limited mobility, but accessible hotel options are plentiful in the major cities.

Travellers with vision impairment may find the tactile yellow strips that guide the way to various places in train stations helpful, though please note that there is no barrier between the train tracks and platforms.

If you have a battery-operated hearing aid, it’s a good idea to bring extra batteries or familiarise yourself with the Japanese equivalent of the batteries it takes.

If you do live with a visual, hearing or other impairment, let your booking agent or group leader know early on so they’re aware and suitable arrangements can be made. As a general rule, knowing some common words in the local language, carrying a written itinerary with you and taking to the streets in a group, rather than solo, can help make your travel experience the best it can be.

What should I wear in Japan?

Summer months can be incredibly hot and sticky, so loose, lightweight and breathable clothing is essential.

Spring and autumn can be crisp and cold, so you might want to pack thermal layers in addition to your coat and boots. 

Outside of Hokkaido and the mountains, the winter temperatures in Japan are manageable as long as you have regular cold-weather clothes like a good coat, pair of gloves, a winter hat and a scarf. 

The style of dress common for women in Japan may be a little more covered up than you are used to, particularly outside the major cities.

Packing comfortable trousers is essential as you may find yourself sitting cross-legged on the floor during your stay. 

What are some common phrases/words I should learn before my trip to Japan?

Having a basic understanding of the language and culture of the country you're visiting can go a long way when it comes to, not only communicating efficiently but your overall trip experience as well. Some common phrases you need to learn are: 

  • 'hello' - Konnichiwa
  • 'good morning' - Ohayō 
  • 'thank you' - Arigatou Gozaimasu
  • 'please' - Onegaishimasu

What religions do they practice in Japan?

There are two dominant religions in Japan - Shinto and Buddhism. The majority of Japanese people practice both simultaneously, however, there is a small number of the population that practise other religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam. 

What are the best places to visit in Japan?

From the neon-lit streets of Tokyo to the peaceful nature of the Japanese Alps, there are plenty of bucket-list destinations to include on your itinerary of Japan. We know it's hard to see everything but here are a few of our favourite places to visit in Japan: 

What are the best things to see in Japan?

Japan isn't short of spectacular attractions to wander through and fascinating historical landmarks to marvel at but it's pretty hard to do it all on your trip to Japan. So you don't miss the things you simply have to see, we've put together a short list of parks, temples, and monuments worth visiting. Happy exploring! 

  • Hiroshima Peace Park 
  • Cherry blossom trees
  • Osaka Castle
  • Himeji Castle

What should I eat in Japan?

Food lovers, including  vegetarians and vegans , will be more than satisfied with the variety and quality of Japanese cuisine. With a focus on fresh, seasonal produce that is prepared meticulously and presented beautifully, dining in Japan is a memorable experience.

What drinks should I try in Japan?

From craft beer to sake, Japan has plenty of tasty liquids to keep you hydrated throughout your travels.

How do I stay safe and healthy while travelling?

Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:

From Australia?

Go to: Smart Traveller

From Canada?

Go to:  Canada Travel Information

From the UK?

Go to:  UK Foreign Travel Advice

From New Zealand?

Go to:  Safe Travel

From the US?

Go to:  US Department of State

The World Health Organisation also provides useful health information.

What is it like travelling on a small group tour?

Whether you’re a seasoned traveller or you’re about to embark on your first trip, travelling can be as intimidating as it is exciting. That's the beauty of a small group tour. From handling the logistics and organising amazing cultural activities to local leaders who know each destination like the back of their hand (like which street has the best markets and where to get the most authentic food), travelling on a small group tour with Intrepid will give you unforgettable travel experiences without the hassle that comes with exploring a new place. Plus, you'll have ready-made friends to share the journey with. All you have to do is turn up with a healthy sense of adventure and we’ll take care of the rest.

Does my trip support The Intrepid Foundation?

Yes, all Intrepid trips support the Intrepid Foundation. Trips to this country directly support our global Intrepid Foundation partners Eden Reforestation Projects and World Bicycle Relief. Intrepid will double the impact by dollar-matching all post-trip donations made to The Intrepid Foundation.

Eden Reforestation Projects

Eden Reforestation Projects are helping to mitigate climate change by restoring forests worldwide; they also hire locally and create job opportunities within vulnerable communities. Donations from our trips support restoration across planting sites in 10 countries around the globe. Find out more or make a donation World Bicycle Relief

World Bicycle Relief provides people in low-income communities with bicycles to mobilise school kids, health workers, and farmers in far-out areas – giving them access to vital education, healthcare, and income. Donations help provide Buffalo Bicycles – specifically designed to withstand the rugged terrain and harsh environment of rural regions – to those who need them most. Find out more or make a donation

japan tours winter 2023

Winter Tour Around Japan for Everyone 2023

  • Tour types: Popular tours in Japan,
  • Tokyo, Nagano, Matsumoto, Yudanaka, Shibu, Kyoto, Nara.
  • Sotetsu Fresa Inn Kamata (Tokyo), Alpico Plaza Hotel (Matsumoto), Oriental Hotel (Kyoto)
  • Japan visa documents. Hotel accommodation. English-speaking guide. Excursion guide. Reserved transfer according to the program. Meals: daily breakfasts. Gift plum wine. Tickets for trains, bus (airport - hotel). Entrance tickets according to the program.
  • Flight tickets, medical insurance.
  • Description

Winter tour along Golden Circle in Japan including pref. Nagano (Snow Monkey Park), Matsumoto and the most ancient resort area of hot springs Shibu Onsen. Tour duration – from 28 January to 5 February 2023.

Agency commission – 10%.

28 January 2023

  • Arrival at Haneda or Narita airport (Tokyo).
  • Meet with English-speaking guide.
  • Currency exchange.
  • Transfer to the city by shuttle bus or express train, then to the hotel by the metro.
  • Upon arrival, check in from 16.00, solving basic problems, take a rest.

29 January 2023

  • Breakfast in the hotel
  • Excursion around Tokyo by reserved transport from 9.00 to 17:00.

Excursion content:

  • The square in front of the Imperial Palace.
  • The old historic quarter Asakusa, the existing temple, the ‘Nakamise’ shopping street.
  • The artificial island Odaiba.
  • The Legendary Ginza Street.
  • The observation deck of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in the popular Shinjuku area.
  • The excursion ends at the hotel. Take a Rest.

30 January 2023

  • Breakfast in the hotel.
  • Check out the rooms, meet your guide in the hotel lobby at 7.30, transfer to Tokyo Station by metro (20 minutes). Boarding the train, departure to Nagano.
  • Upon arrival, excursion around Nagano by reserved transport until 18.00.
  • After the end of the excursion, transfer to Matsumoto city. Overnight in Matsumoto.
  • Yudanaka thermal bath area.
  • Snow Monkey Park.
  • One of the most ancient resorts with numerous hot springs Sibu Onsen.
  • The excursion ends at the hotel at 17.00.

31 January 2023

  • Check out the rooms.
  • Excursion around Matsumoto city by reserved transport, followed by transfer to Kyoto.
  • Matsumoto Castle is one of the few large feudal castles which have been preserved to this date in its original form.
  • Visit to one of the old wineries ‘Kamedaya’ (since 1870), introduction to the technology of making sake, its history, types and proper use.
  • Transfer to Kyoto by train. Upon arrival in Kyoto, transfer with attendant to the hotel by metro, check in at the hotel.
  • Take a rest.

1 February 2023

  • Excursion around Nara by public transport from 9.00 to 16.00.
  • Nara Deer Park.
  • The temple complex of the Great Eastern Temple ‘Todai-ji’. The sculpture of the Buddha.
  • The Shinto shrine ‘Kasuga-taisha’.
  • The excursion ends at 16.00 at the hotel.

2 February 2023

  • Check out, tour around Kyoto by public transport, followed by transfer to Tokyo.
  • The Golden Pavillion ‘Kinkaku-ji’.
  • The ‘Ryoan-ji’ temple with a rock garden.
  • The temple of pure water ‘Kiyomizu-dera’.
  • Return to Tokyo by train. Upon arrival in Tokyo, transfer with attendant to the hotel by metro.
  • Check in at the hotel, take a rest.

3 February 2023

  • Free day. Optional excursion to Hakone, Kamakura or Nikko.

4 February 2023

5 February 2023

  • Transfer to Haneda Airport with attendant by shuttle bus or express train.

– For passengers of early and late flights arriving at Narita Airport, a shuttle bus transfer to/from the hotel is offered without attendant for an additional fee (about $60).


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japan tours winter 2023

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japan tours winter 2023

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12 most beautiful winter destinations in Japan

From snowy mountains to a white onsen town, there are plenty of places to make the most of the chilly season

Kaila Imada

Sure, Japan is popular for spring cherry blossoms and colourful autumn foliage, but don’t pass up the winter season. Come the cooler months, Japan has many magical spots boasting some of the country’s best scenery.

Whether you prefer to spend your time at a sprawling ski resort , a snowy onsen town or to catch a stunning ice festival, there’s so much to see when the weather cools down. And don’t worry about the cold – you can always warm up after an outdoor excursion by dipping into a hot spring or slurping up a hearty bowl of ramen. If you’re looking for a new place to explore this winter, add these gorgeous destinations to your itinerary.  RECOMMENDED: The best hot spring getaways in Japan

Japan's winter wonderlands

Zao Snow Monsters, Yamagata

Zao Snow Monsters, Yamagata

The Zao Hot Springs Ski Resort  is home to these chilling ice monsters otherwise known as juhyo . These natural formations are actually evergreen trees that become enveloped with snow and make for a stunning winter sight. For the ice monsters to appear, specific climate conditions have to be met, meaning there’s only a limited number of places and times that you can see this natural phenomenon.

Shirakawa-go, Gifu

Shirakawa-go, Gifu

The immaculately preserved Japanese village of Shirakawa-go is a sight to behold during the winter. Also designated as a Unesco World Heritage Site, the village is made up of numerous gassho-zukuri thatched-roof farmhouses that have been converted into hotels, restaurants and museums. The houses are designed to withstand heavy snowfall and make for a whimsical sight when covered in fresh snow.

Kamakura Snow Hut Village, Nagano

Kamakura Snow Hut Village, Nagano

This magical igloo village in Nagano is actually a restaurant , and opens every winter. Restaurant Kamakura Village is made up of 20 pop-up igloos nestled in the snowy Japanese Alps in the small town of Iiyama. Each igloo fits up to four people and you'll be treated to a noroshi nabe, a tasty local hot pot made with miso, pork and local veggies. The snowy restaurant will return this winter from January 20 to February 29 2024.

Yunishigawa Onsen, Tochigi

Yunishigawa Onsen, Tochigi

This magical winter wonderland can be found at the Yunishigawa Kamakura Festival in Tochigi prefecture. The snowy festival takes place annually from late January to early March and showcases hundreds of illuminated mini snow huts known as kamakura . You can stroll through the kamakura, which are set up around the Sawaguchi riverbed at Yunishigawa Onsen. This year the festival is scheduled to be held from January 26 to February 25 2024.

Jigokudani Monkey Park, Nagano

Jigokudani Monkey Park, Nagano

Head to this park to meet the Japanese macaques, better known as snow monkeys, who lounge around in its steamy hot spring waters. You’ll find this winter retreat inside Joshinetsu Kogen National Park in Nagano prefecture. The monkeys often bathe in the onsen year round, but if you’d like to catch them with snowy surrounds, head up to the park between January and February.

Nabana no Sato Illuminations, Mie

Nabana no Sato Illuminations, Mie

This festival may not be snow-related, but the light-up at Nabana no Sato is one of the best winter illuminations in Japan . This botanical garden on the small island of Nagashima in Mie prefecture turns into a brilliant display of winter lights, showcasing millions of sparking LEDs forming iridescent rivers, waterfalls and more. The illumination continues all the way through to May, so there’s plenty of time to stop by and see it.

Sapporo Snow Festival, Hokkaido

Sapporo Snow Festival, Hokkaido

Every February, Sapporo turns into a winter fairytale land during its annual Snow Festival . The festival first started back in 1950, when students began building snow statues in Odori Park, and has since become a full-blown week-long event with extravagant ice sculptures taking over the park, the grounds of Tsudome community dome and the city’s Susukino district. For this winter, the festival returns from February 4 to 11 2024.

Otaru, Hokkaido

Otaru, Hokkaido

Hokkaido’s port city of Otaru hosts an annual snow festival every February, and it sure is a showstopper. Known as the Otaru Snow Light Path Festival , the city's streets are illuminated with hundreds of lights and snow statues. We particularly love the view of the floating lights along Otaru’s main canal, which runs near the trendy Warehouse District. Hoping to check it out? Mark your calendars for this season’s festival scheduled from February 10 to 17 2024.

Kenrokuen, Ishikawa

Kenrokuen, Ishikawa

Kenrokuen in Ishikawa prefecture is considered one of Japan’s three great gardens. The well-manicured space is a popular spot to visit year-round, but during the winter, it’s particularly special. When snow falls, a blanket of white covers the grounds and turns the landscape into a truly serene space. The garden is often lit up during winter evenings and sometimes mini concerts are even held at the on-site Uchihashi-tei teahouse.

Ginzan Onsen, Yamagata

Ginzan Onsen, Yamagata

Once a former silver mine, Ginzan Onsen has since been turned into one of the most picturesque onsen resort towns in all of Japan. As a reminder of the past, it’s name literally means ‘silver mountain hot spring’ and the area features numerous ryokan (traditional Japanese inns), which line the river that runs through the town. Ginzan Onsen really is a stunner in winter when fallen snow collects on the rooftops and streets. Best of all, the town centre is pedestrian-only, so you can meander through this picture-perfect spot at your own pace.

Misotsuchi Icicles, Saitama

Misotsuchi Icicles, Saitama

Heading up to see the Misotsuchi Icicles in Chichibu makes for an ideal day trip from Tokyo. Best seen in January and February, this natural phenomenon is the result of spring water from the Arakawa River being frozen to the surface of rocks. The icicles are also worth a visit in the evening as they are lit up in different colours to add to the mystical atmosphere.

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, Toyama

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, Toyama

This spectacular route through the Japanese alps stretches from Toyama all the way to Nagano prefecture and offers some pretty impressive scenery. Most notable is the staggering snow corridor, where the buildup of snow can reach as high as 20 metres. Due to the danger of collapse, the snow corridor is only open from spring onwards, but you could fool anyone into thinking its winter with a few photos from this spot.

More from Time Out Tokyo

The most beautiful places in Japan

The most beautiful places in Japan

See the real Japan in the peaceful rolling hills of Hokkaido, a Nagano nature reserve dotted with volcanoes, and more

6 best onsen destinations in Japan

6 best onsen destinations in Japan

Warm up as well as rejuvenate your body and mind at these scenic hot spring resorts, easily accessible from Tokyo

The best national parks in Japan

The best national parks in Japan

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japan tours winter 2023


As the cold weather settles in, the days grow short and the nights grow long, but Japan stirs with millions of LED lights, cheerful festivals , and plenty to do in the way of skiing and snowboarding. So much so that Japan was the Winter Olympics host country twice over ! Visiting Japan in winter means relaxing in an outdoor hot spring , savoring seasonal food , or checking out the local wildlife ! It all depends on what you want out of your vacation. Read on for our winter in Japan travel guide!


japan tours winter 2023

Generally, winter lasts from December to February . With the rainy season long over most of Japan is sunny and dry, but temperatures vary by region. In Tokyo , daily highs reach 12°C (54°F) in December but fall to 5° (41°) in the mornings and evenings. By January , it drops to 10°C (50°F) at midday with lows of 2°C (35°F). February sees warmer weather that averages near 11°C (50°F) during the day and 3°C (37°F) at night. Central Japan and Kansai encounter similar conditions, but Okinawa hardly ever gets colder than 14°C (57°F). Northern Japan and mountainous regions reach below freezing temperatures, and experiences fluffy snowfalls almost every day. At the same time, other parts of the country might on rare occasion get a light dusting.


japan tours winter 2023

Planning a Trip To Hokkaido During The Winter Holidays

Hokkaido is gorgeous all year round , and many people love exploring its national parks during summer , but the island is especially known for its winter scenery . Don’t miss the Sapporo Snow Festival where local and international artists build snow and ice sculptures as tall as buildings. Or, head to Otaru to see the thousands of lanterns lining the streets and canal during the Snow Light Path Festival.

japan tours winter 2023

Aoi Ike: The Blue Pond

While you’re in a Hokkaido, take a day trip south of Asahikawa . Although you might have never heard of the tiny Biei, Japan, its winter weather creates one of the world's most breathtaking sights . The naturally occurring minerals in Aoi Ike naturally shine a brilliant hue of blue. In the cold seasons, the waters crystalize in an eerily perfect reflection of the surrounding nature.

japan tours winter 2023

Winter Illuminations

No matter where you go, it’s hard to miss the parks, city blocks, and shopping centers glittering at dusk. Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi Prefecture holds one of the largest light festivals in the country from October to February. Most festivals don’t last this long, however. You’re more likely to see these events in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

japan tours winter 2023

Shirakawa-go and Gokayama Gassho Zukuri Houses

The ancient farmhouses of Gifu and Toyama Prefectures are on our list of must visit places in Japan. Although the scenic mountain towns are gorgeous year-round, in winter the purpose of the unusual architecture of these UNESCO cultural sites become apparent. The " Praying Hands " thatched roofs keep the snow from piling up while maintaining plenty of space in the living quarters. It’s thanks to this engineering that some of these houses have stood for over 250 years.

japan tours winter 2023

As iconic as the cherry blossoms , Mt. Fuji seems to pervade every part of Japanese culture from ancient art to modern company logos. Unfortunately, because of Mt. Fuji’s height, clouds form around her peak in the warm months and block the picturesque view. In winter, however, the temperatures at the base and apex balance out, and the clouds open to clear skies for unobstructed panoramas. Climbing, however, is a different story. The hiking trails remain closed until July , and roads may close due to snow.


japan tours winter 2023

Akan International Crane Center

Japan’s geography supports significant biodiversity, which you can experience even in winter. At the Akan International Crane Center , you can see the rare red-crowned cranes . The sight of the majestic birds gathering on the pure white snow will leave you in awe.

japan tours winter 2023

Snow Monkeys in Jigokudani Park

There’s nothing better than soaking in an outdoor onsen in freezing temperatures… unless a monkey joins you! In Nagano Prefecture, you can enjoy the natural scenery, snowy alps, and see macaque monkeys doing something quite unusual. The Jigokudani Monkey Park maintains natural hot springs that attract wild monkeys to warm up in during winter.

japan tours winter 2023

Abashiri Icebreaker Cruise

Among the winter activities in Japan, the Abashiri Icebreaker Cruise provides one of the best sightseeing experiences. Sit back and relax inside of a warm cabin as you pass through natural ice floes on the Sea of Okhotsk. The drift ice starts forming in January but reaches peak thickness in the second half of February.

japan tours winter 2023

Ski Resorts in Japan

Japan is about 73% mountainous, and that means plenty of opportunities for skiing and snowboarding ! You can find resorts with backcountry and powder skiing all over northern Japan, including Niseko City in Hokkaido, the Japan Alps in Nagano, and Fujiten Snow Resort at the base of Mt. Fuji. The season usually starts around mid-December and lasts through March depending on the snowfall.

japan tours winter 2023

Kamakura Festival

The annual Yokote Kamakura Festival is held from February 15th to the 16th in Akita Prefecture. This 400-year tradition features handmade igloos that house shrines to various Shinto deities. If you miss the festival, check out Kamakurkan Hall, which preserves these structures year-round.


Because the climate varies across the country, packing for Japan’s winter season largely depends on your exact destinations. In general, plan on bringing long-sleeved shirts and pants as well as a down jacket for outdoor activities. If you plan to ride public transportation or spend a long time inside, wear layers! Japan’s shopping malls, restaurants, trains, and other facilities are usually heated very well. If you find that you made a mistake on your packing list for Japan after your arrival, don’t fret! Buying winter clothes in Japan is one of the most easy-going shopping experiences. Head to UNIQLO to purchase Heat Tech underclothes, convenience stores for pocket warmers, or any department store for cold weather accessories.


japan tours winter 2023

Christmas Eve (December 24th) Generally, Christmas isn’t celebrated as a religious nor a family holiday in Japan. Instead, young couples take this opportunity to go on romantic dates. New Years (December 31st to January 3rd) Like Golden Week (April 29th to May 5th) the New Years Holidays are a peak season for travel in Japan. Families hold reunions, watch the sunrise on January 1st, and pray for good fortune at shrines and temples. Coming of Age Day (The Second Monday of January) Local young people turning 20-years-old don elaborate kimono and take part in rite-of-passage ceremonies across the country. Celebrations start during the day at prefectural and ward offices and go on through the night with family parties. Setsubun (The Day Before the Spring Equinox) Setsubun coincides with the lunar calendar’s New Year's Eve. To celebrate, Japanese people throw roasted soybeans or peanuts at people dressed as demons to symbolize ridding themselves of bad fortune.




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9-Day Best of Japan’s Winter – Hokkaido Private Tour

9-Day Best of Japan’s Winter – Hokkaido Private Tour

Never been to Japan in winter? Drift-ice sightseeing and an icebreaker ship experience is a must-try there! Here we present with pleasure our winter best-seller, and hope this well-planned, though customizable, journey meets your needs! You can walk on an iceberg, enjoy the view comfortably from inside an icebreaker ship, or go out on deck and take in the views along with the Okhotsk Sea winds. Smile to the winter animals, explore a famous chocolate factory, and shop on the snowy streets like a local. Keep warm discovering authentic winter experiences in northern Japan!

  • Best For: First-timers, Photographers, Nature lovers
  • Departure date: January to March
  • Sample Price: from US$4,999 each (2 per room)

Journey Route

This is an ideal tour for first-time visitors and families. Sign up for your favorite part of the tour or simply treat the whole tour as inspiration, designing each element specially for you.

Discover real reviews of Highlights Travel Family 's best-rated service across trusted platforms.

Go outdoors and step into a white world made of frozen waterfalls and lakes and snow-covered houses.

Say hello to the cute animals of asahiyama zoo ., board an icebreaker ship and explore the floating ice , see japan's famous version of alcatraz (the rock)., compare the different frozen lakes of hokkaido., observe the wildlife of kushiro wetland., visit shiroi koibito park and sample its chocolate., stay the night at a hot-spring hotel near lake akan ., itinerary in detail.

We arrange plenty of unique activities to help create memorable experiences along the way; such as enjoying the hot spring, discovering the local village & waterfall, and visiting the local chocolate factory. We also take time to board the ice-breaker ship and cruise on the frozen world, observe red-crowned crane, regarded by Japanese people as a symble of longlife.

Welcome to Sapporo — capital city of Hokkaido!

You will be met on arrival at New Chitose Airport and have a transfer to your accommodation. The rest of the day is free for your own leisure.

Today, we would explore the frozen world of Furano:

  • Walk in a cozy world of crafts — Ningle Terrace ('Forest Elf Terrace')
  • Enjoy the winter beauty of Furano — Blue Pond and Shirahige Falls .

Have a day excursion in Asahikawa, have fun with the cute creatures, and dive into the local art.Today, we would explore the frozen world of Furano:

  • Visit the Asahiyama Zoo , and meet the lovely animals, including penguins.
  • Delve into the local art scene at Snow Crystal Museum .
  • Sample the famous local flavor — Asahikawa ramen — at its famous Ramen Street .
  • Pass Abashiri Prison Museum — an outdoor exhibition (enter if interested).
  • Drive on Ten Ni Tsuzuku Michi ('Road to the Heaven').
  • Take photos at Cape Notoro — the cape with the famous Notoromisaki Lighthouse, beside Utsukushi-Misaki Ranch in northwestern Abashiri city, close to Lake Notoro.
  • Visit the northernmost church in Japan — Christ Brethren Shari Church .

Ready for the Ice World? Let go!

  • Board an icebreaker ship in the morning.
  • Try walking on drift ice on your own if the weather permits.
  • Discover Shiretoko Nature Center on foot (1 hour) and Shiretoko Five Lakes .

This morning, make your way to southeast after breakfast.

  • Start the day trip by visiting Lake Kussharo — a caldera lake in Akan National Park.
  • Drive to Lake Akan — another beautiful crater lake by Mount Oakan.

Today you explore the natural sites of Kushiro and Obihiro.

  • Enter Kushiro Wetland Park and see the rare and auspicious red-crowned cranes .
  • Head to Tokachigawa Hot Spring for a natural moisturizing and smoothing bath.

Visit Shiroi Koibito Park — the most famous local chocolate/cookie manufacturer.

Discover downtown Sapporo — Sapporo Odori Park, Sapporo TV Tower views ...

We hope the journey home provides a happy conclusion to your winter vacation!

Airport to hotel transport would be arranged in Sapporo.

Hand-Picked Hotels

We have selected hotels with different styles and for different budgets. Let us know your preferences and we will help you find the right one.

Tour Price:

  • The price is based on a private tour for 2 people during the peak (winter) season.
  • The price varies based on program, travel date, number of people.
  • We could also price a tour including both 4-star and 5-star hotels for you.
  • We accept payments in multiple currencies (GBP, AUD, CAD, EUR...).

Price Includes:

  • Privately-driven air-conditioned vehicle with ample space (except where stated)
  • English-speaking local guide for the sightseeing
  • Attraction tickets and itinerary activities
  • Accommodation for all nights
  • Hotel breakfasts and itinerary lunches/dinners
  • 24/7 helpline while touring
  • Governmental taxes

Price Excludes:

  • International flights not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Visa fee, if applicable
  • Tips for guides and drivers
  • Personal expenses

Tour code: ah-jp-12

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japan tours winter 2023

The China Highlights and tour of Dali was absolutely wonderful. The tour guide Daisy was so nice, knowledgeable and provided an excellent, memorable experience of Old Town Dali, Erhai Lake, the Three Pagodas and so much more. I have been on many tours and this one was the best, exactly what we were looking for, including the pace, the food, the attention to details, care and professionalism. Everything was positively great!

japan tours winter 2023

From the moment we arrived in Shanghai it was an unforgettable experience. The agency and Martín (our guide) made everything possible to had the best experience and were always open to show or teach more if was necessary. We were very happy with the places we saw and the stories we learned thanks to Martín!!! I totally recommend the agency!!

Our family tour with China Travel was absolutely wonderful. The China highlights of Dali was planned with the great care and help from Vanessa, and the actual tour guide, Daisy, who was knowledgeable, flexible, helpful, and provided an excellent, memorable experience for my family. We toured several locations and I especially liked the pace of Old Town Dali, the scenic view of Erhai Lake, and the history of the Three Pagodas, and so much more. I have been on many tours and this one was the best, exactly what we were looking for, including the pace, the food, the attention to details, care and professionalism. Everything was positively great! Highly

My mother and I greatly enjoyed our trip to Dali. Our tour guide was Daisy and she did a wonderful job taking us on an adventure around to everywhere we wanted to go. We even went to some under appreciated areas that we had been interested in! We visited a bit after my mother's birthday and Daisy was kind enough to give my mother a gift!

Our family tour with China Travel was absolutely wonderful. The China highlights of Dali was planned with the great care and help from Vanessa, and the actual tour guide, Daisy, who was knowledgeable, flexible, helpful, and provided an excellent, memorable experience for my family.

Ethan has been my tour guide for my four day trip to Beijing. He has been knowledgeable, polite, and most helpful. I was uncomfortable coming to China for the first time without speaking any Chinese at all. Ethan gave the tours, arranged for shows and literally took me to my seats. He also accompanied me to the train station to help figure my was around and help me find the correct train and car. I would definitely use China Highlights again in the future.

Lily Wong our guide at Guilin was wonderful. Along with all the good qualities like being punctual,courteous, organized,knowledgeable,hard working she is also caring.The scenaries at Guilin is second to none,Lily helped us to take lots of pictures to capture the scenaries as much as possible.With Lily's help I can enjoy the amazing cave and the rafting.At Yangshuo Lily also recommend a Light Show on the river.That was fantastic never saw anything like it. I must mention the unique hotel they put us in.Its called Yangshuo Moondance hotel.My wife is very happy with Lily because she took a lot of pictures for her and took her shopping for a new (Qie Pao,cantonese Cheung Sham).

We were so fortunate to have Kris as our tour guide. He was so kind and helpful with a great sense of humor. He made sure that my parents, who are in their 70s, were comfortable and that we traveled at a good place. Kris had excellent suggestions for restaurants and he helped arrange tickets to the Eras 2 show- like a cirque de soleil type show that was spectacular. I really enjoyed the Yu Garden as well as the propaganda poster museum. I highly recommend Kris and China Highlights!

I have an excellent trip to Guilin and my guide, Gary Wei who works for China Highlights Tour was very professional and knowledgeable in regard to the history of the Guilin and Yangshuo. Gary was remarkable with his recital of a lot of ancient poems. Hence, I had such a good and memorable experience. I do highly recommend China Highlights Tour to anyone who wish to visit China.

Our tour guides Doyle Cheng (Kunming), Daisy Shi (Dali), Martin (Lijiang) were knowledgeable about the local culture and folklore regaling us with many stories, history mixed with witty remarks and jokes.They made us feel safe, comfortable during the many trips feeding us with local snacks, sweets, pastries, fruits. Our shopping list were all taken care off with their well recommended shops and even bargain hunting.They were sensitive and alert to our toilet breaks, flexible to last minute changes and recommended good dinner restaurants.Big thank you to Martin for your extra attention given to our children when they werent feeling well.

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japan tours winter 2023

The Best Japan Winter Tour 2023

japan tours winter 2023

Japan has chilly, rainy, and frequently windy winters. You will be outside in the weather for extended periods of time if you travel to Japan during the winter, so keep that in mind. A large number of the main attractions are either outdoors or housed in ancient wooden buildings that lack warmth.

It is also necessary to consider how you will get between the sites. This frequently entails standing outside in the cold while at a bus station or while waiting on the railway platform. There are little heated chambers on certain platforms, however, this is not always the case.

The Weather can Vary.

Of course, there are cooler regions and warmer regions in Japan. Hokkaido and the regions farther north than the Japanese Alps along the Japanese side of the Sea of Japan are the coldest. There are many Japan winter attractions to partake in, so be certain to get a list of your agenda and destinations.

These regions typically experience extreme cold and heavy snowfall. Even in Tokyo, though, the temperature can drop between 4°F and 6°F in the early morning and late afternoon, and it frequently falls below 50 degrees during the day from mid-January to mid-February.

This Japan Wintertime Travel Checklist was created to assist you in getting ready for your trip. This should help you pack the items you will need for your tour of Japan and should help you get all of your necessary items together and ready prior to your departure.

The temperature can vary a lot between the coast and inland, so please pack accordingly. Your tour company can give additional information on your stops. Contact:

All Japan Tours +19099888885 https://alljapantours.com/

Your Winter Travel Checklist to Japan

Warm Apparel

Bring a variety of layers, from light to heavy.

Thermal Underwear: In particular, if you want to go to an area with lower temperatures.

Warm Coat: Since down coats can be folded up for storage and are often lighter and warmer, we advise getting one.

Select gloves that are appropriate for the tasks you will be performing in Japan.

It is advised to use a pair that is compatible with a smartphone.

Most people who live in Japan can assure you that you will want to protect your ears with a hat or earmuffs.

Muffler or Thick Scarf: To protect your neck, we advise packing a scarf.

Make sure you pack an ample number of thick socks. You will be happy you had those extra pairs of socks when it starts to rain or snow, and they become soaked.

Hand Warmers Activated by Air

These are excellent to carry around in your pockets. Before your vacation, you may purchase them at many online retailers. In the winter, you can get them in most convenience stores. In Japan, they are referred to as Kairo, and their prices are rather acceptable.

Cozy footwear

Put on footwear that can withstand moisture and slick surfaces, including traction-enhancing boots or waterproof shoes.

Light Raincoat

Wintertime in Japan may be rather damp. Pack a lightweight raincoat so you have something to wear in case it starts to rain or snow. You do not need to pack an umbrella. They are inexpensive and simple to locate at any convenience shop.

Be careful to bring along any required medications if you are prone to illness in the winter. Japanese pharmacies will not carry your brands.

To keep your cell phone, portable Wi-Fi, and other gadgets charged while you are out and about, we advise packing a portable charger.

Skincare Items

Remember to bring lotion, lip balm, as well as any other skincare essentials you need for keeping your skin moisturized because the winter air in Japan may be dry and hard on your skin. While in Japan, do not expect to discover your favorite brands.

It is advantageous to have cash with you when visiting Japan because not all locations take credit cards. You should have between 20,000 and 30,000 jpy (about $200 and $300 USD).

Travel Records

In Japan, visitors must always have their passports with them. We advise carrying it with you in a secure, dry location.

Some Areas to See

The northernmost island in Japan will probably be at the top of the list for most travelers arranging a winter vacation there. But despite what would appear on paper, given how many people head straight for Niseko, Hokkaido is not only a destination for skiers.

You can see red-crested tancho cranes roaming the marshlands encompassing Lake Akan near Kushiro, marvel at the “Penguin Parade” in Asahikawa, take a stroll across the icicle-lined Otaru Canal, visit the Sapporo Snow Festival, or gaze down on the snow-covered star-shaped Goryokaku fort in Hakodate.Tohoku.

Go to Yamagata and spend your days among the “snow monsters” and your evenings in the hot springs of Zao Onsen. Wander around the warrior residences covered in snow at the Kakunodate Samurai area or stop by Yokote Castle in Akita prefecture during the building of kamakura, which are essentially Japanese igloos.



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japan tours winter 2023

10 Best Winter Snow Festivals in Japan 2023-2024

japan tours winter 2023

Japan is a country that is full of festivals all year round. In summer there are many dance festivals and huge firework displays , and in winter some of the major events are the snow festivals. Endless winter festivals are held throughout the country, especially in the northern Tohoku and Hokkaido regions. These areas get a lot of snow every year and host snow festivals that attract people from all over. Each festival has its own unique features, such as kamakura (snow hut) and lanterns. Many travelers come to Japan in winter to ski in the amazing powder, but you don’t want to miss out on these fun seasonal snow festivals either! Let’s have a look at some of the best winter snow festivals in Japan!

1. Sapporo Snow Festival

2. jozankei snow lantern festival, 3. lake shikotsu lce festival, 4. sounkyo onsen hyobaku festival, 5. hirosaki castle snow lantern festival, 6. aizu erosoku matsuri (aizu painted candle festival), 7. yokote snow festival, 8. zao juhyo festival, 9. aone onsen snow illumination, 10. tsunan snow festival, find the other tours, other articles you might enjoy.

We start off our list with without a doubt the most famous and one of the biggest winter festivals in all of Japan: the Sapporo Snow Festival . The Sapporo Snow Festival is held every year in early February at Ōdori Park, Susukino and other venues in Sapporo City . The highlight of this festival is the artworks that are created by carefully shaving large ice blocks. The ice sculptures come in all sizes and sorts, from the White House and the Arc de Triomphe in Paris to popular Japanese anime characters. Each piece is elaborately created and fascinates all who see it. But be sure to book your hotels and accomodations early as things tend to sell out quick!

Sapporo Snow festival

Sapporo Snow Festival 2024 February 4th (Sun) – 11th (Sun) Sapporo Snow Festival

The Jozankei Onsen Snow Lantern Festival is another festival held in Sapporo. The festival was first held in 2011 with the idea of welcoming guests to all of the local ryokan and hotels with lit snow candles. About 2,000 snow candles decorate the whole area of Jozankei and what makes these candles extra special is that they are all handmade by the staff working at the hot spring resort. The numerous candles flickering in the snow are a very romantic sight at night, and make for a great date spot!

japan tours winter 2023

Jozankei Snow Lantern Festival 2024 January 27th (Sat) – February 3rd (Sat) Jozankei Snow Lantern Festival

japan tours winter 2023

Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival is held in the hot springs around Lake Shikotsu, a caldera lake near Chitose of Hokkaido . The winter event includes stunning ice sculptures created by dripping lakewater, which is famous for its high transparency. At night, the ice sculptures are lit up with colorful lights, creating a fantastic sight. The magical frozen lake and its ice castles are a great way to enjoy a cold winter day! The Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival shows a completely different face in the daytime and at night and is well worth a visit no matter what time of day it is.

Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival 2024 January 28th (Sat) – February 23rd (Wed) Opening hours 10am – 8pm Illumination 4:30pm – 8pm Chitose-Lake Shikotsuko lce Festival

japan tours winter 2023

Sounkyo Onsen in Kamikawa-cho of Hokkaido is home to a beautiful ice waterfall festival every winter. In winter, the temperature in this area drops well below 0 and it is so cold that the water falling from the waterfalls freezes. Thanks to this natural phenomenon, the frozen waterfalls transform into a beautiful ice fantasy. This festival is held from evening to night, and there is also a stunning illumination that adds to the experience. There is a rest area where you can buy a hot drink as well as a spot for good photo ops that you don’t want to miss.

Sounkyo Onsen Hyobaku Festival 2024 January 28 (Sat) – March 12 (Sun) Sounkyo Ice Fall Festival

The Hirosaki Castle Snow Lantern Festival is held every winter in Hirosaki of Aomori Prefecture . This snow festival welcomes you with many handmade lanterns and miniature kamakura which are set up throughout Hirosaki Park. There are about 150 snow lanterns made by the locals, and about 300 miniature kamakura lined up near the lotus pond. Each of these snow lanterns has a picture of a Nebuta warrior. The snow lanterns are built around Hirosaki Castle , one of Japan’s 12 original castles and a popular cherry blossom viewing spot in spring . In winter, the many sakura trees that are illuminated spectacularly, together with the kamakura and the lanterns surrounding the castle create a magical snowy kingdom.

Hirosaki Castle Snow Lantern Festival, Aomori

Hirosaki Castle Snow Lantern Festival 2024 February 9th (Thu) -12th (Sun) 10am – 9pm Hirosaki Castle Snow Lantern Festival

An Aizu Erosoku is a traditional painted candle from the Aizu area of Fukushima . These candles with drawings of seasonal flowers such as chrysanthemums, peonies, and wisteria are all handmade. This festival has started to promote the beauty of this craftsmanship to many people. You can enjoy the warm candlelights in the snow during the festival.

japan tours winter 2023

Aizu Erosoku Matsuri 2024 February 10 (Fri) – 11 (Sat) Aizu Erosoku Matsuri

Yokote Snow Festival

The Yokote Snow Festival in Akita Prefecture is a festival with a history of 450 years and is famous for about 100 large size kamakura. Each kamakura is about three meters high, and four or five people can stay inside. Local children invite tourists who come to see the festival inside the snow huts and serve them amazake and roasted rice cakes. Even though a kamakura is made of snow, it is surprisingly warm inside. Eating and drinking Japanese snacks in a winter wonderland like atmosphere makes for a truly magical experience. In addition, in the schoolyard of the local elementary school and along the riverbank, there are a number of miniature kamakura made by the local people. This scenery together with the wintery activities is sure to be a fantastic and memorable experience.

Yokote Snow Festival 2024 February 15th & 16th every year Free admission 6pm – 9pm Kamakura rental: ¥3,000 for one hour for a group including mochi and amazake (advance booking is recommended) Yokote Snow Festival

Zao of Yamagata Prefecture , is one of the most famous ski resorts in Japan, and is also famous as a tourist destination where you can see “樹氷 (Juhyo)”. Juhyo is often called a “snow monster” because of its appearance, but it really is just a very rare natural phenomenon that can only be seen in a select few places in the world. The festival is more commonly known as the Zao Onsen Snow Monster Festival and takes place all over Zao Onsen Snow Resort, including the top of the mountain! You can take a ropeway that runs from Juhyo Kogen Station to the Jizoyama Station at the summit. You can see the snow monsters of Zao spread out all over the mountain area while you are on the ropeway. When you go there at night, you can enjoy seeing the Zao Snow Monsters lit up in the pitch-black darkness, creating an impressive winter world. Other activities held in the area are Winter fireworks, projection displays, and a torchlit ski descent. The festival is held from late December to March and the snow monsters are at their peak in February.

Zao Onsen Skiing

Zao Onsen Snow Monster Festival 2022-2023 December 23, 2022 (Sat) – February 25, 2023 (Sun) Zao Juhyo Festival

Aone Onsen, located in Kawasaki-cho of southern Miyagi Prefecture, is famous for its beautiful nature. It is said that in the early Edo Period , the Date family (伊達家), one of the most famous warrior families, often visited this hot spring to heal themselves. At a special site around Aone Children’s Park and Jyappo Hot Spring, local people make about 2,000 small shrines (hokora) with snow and light a snow candle inside each of them. It is a fantastic winter scene and free tonjiru (Japanese pork soup) and cocoa are offered to visitors on a first come first serve basis. Although it is held for just one day, every year Aone Onsen’s small snow shrines attract loads of tourists who are hoping to see the spectacular snowy scene. We also recommended you stay at the hot spring village and go out to see this festival at night!

japan tours winter 2023

Aone Onsen Snow Illumination 2024 Usually mid February Aone Onsen Snow Illumination

japan tours winter 2023

Have you ever seen the beautiful scenery of countless lanterns, flying in the night sky like Disney’s Tangled? Guess what, you can see that very scene here in Japan! More than 1,000 lanterns fly in the sky over Tsunan in Niigata Prefecture and fireworks are set off in the finale of the festival. Tsunan receives some of the heaviest snowfall in the world and this festival helps to lift the spirits of the locals during the cold and dark winters. Winter activities, including snowboard battles, live music , and fireworks help to cheer up everyone!

Tsunan Snow Festival March 9th, 2024 (Sat) 11am -8pm Tsunan Snow Festival

Iiyama - Kamakura Snow Dome Village

We talked about 10 great snow festivals in Japan, but there are lots of other fun things you can do in winter here. All of these festivals are as fantastic and impressive as you’d expect with snow huts, fireworks, illumination events, and much more. Each festival has its own unique characteristics and is well worth a visit. Be sure to double check the official website of each festival to make sure there aren’t any sudden changes. We hope you have the chance to visit some of these best winter snow festivals in Japan on your next visit!

Japan Wonder Travel Tours 

Japan Wonder Travel is a travel agency that offers guided tours throughout Japan.  From private walking tours to delicious Food and Drink tours, we can help you organize the best tours just for you! If you want to explore Japan and learn more about the history and backstories of each area you are visiting, our knowledgeable and friendly English speaking guides will happily take you to the best spots!  In addition, we can provide you with any assistance you may need for your upcoming trip to Japan, so please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need some help! 

▶ Tokyo Fish Market Tour @Tsukiji – Enjoy Local Food and Drink Explore the most lively and popular fish market in Tokyo and try some of the local’s favorite street foods and sake with one of our friendly and knowledgeable English speaking guides! 

tsukiji tour

▶ Tokyo 1–Day Highlights Private Walking Tour (8 Hours) There’s no better way to explore an area than taking a tour with a knowledgeable local guide. You will have the chance to learn about the history and interesting background stories of Tokyo, as well as discover some hidden gems which can be hard to do without a guide.

Asakusa Tokyo private tour

▶ Mt. Fuji Day Trip Bus Tour from Tokyo Experience the breathtaking views of Mt. Fuji by visiting the highlights of the area on our guided sightseeing bus tour! Departing from Shinjuku in central Tokyo, you can travel comfortably to all of the best spots in the area by bus.

mount fuji chureito pagoda

▶ Kyoto Private Full Day Walking Tour On this full-day private tour of Kyoto, you will be able to see the highlights of Kyoto in just one day and at the same time develop a deeper understanding of both the culture of the area and Japan as a whole.

japan tours winter 2023

▶ Tour Packages If you want to make travel easier, we suggest you look into tour packages.There are a wide range of tour packages out there to suit the accomodate for each traveler needs. Click the button below to find the best tour package from various Tour Operators!

japan tours winter 2023

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Happy traveling!

japan tours winter 2023

Mao Goto is a Japanese freelancer who was born in Hayama, Kanagawa prefecture, and raised in Tokyo. Since 2016 she lives in the Taito Ward, home to a lot of Japanese culture hotspots such as Asakusa, Akihabara, and Ueno. She has been interested in the field of English education of Japan and got her Master’s degree in March, 2020. A lover of photography, travel, sweets, and cross-stitch. Contact her via  Facebook .

This post may contain some affiliate links. When you click through and make a purchase we may receive some commission, at no extra costs to you .

japan tours winter 2023

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