When Does It Snow In Japan

When Does It Snow In Japan: Explore Japan’s Winter Wonderland! With its diverse climate, Japan offers a unique winter experience across different regions. Snow begins to fall in mid-December, marking a snow season that can last until early April.

The coastal and northern areas, especially Honshu and Hokkaido, receive the most snow, up to 600 inches annually, thanks to the mix of cold Siberian air and warm sea waters. E

ven the southern regions have enough snow for winter sports like skiing and snowboarding. Japan’s winter is a perfect time for snow enthusiasts and adventurers alike to enjoy its stunning landscapes and activities.

Where does it snow in Japan?


Find Your Perfect Snowy Escape in Japan! When winter rolls around in December, Japan transforms into a snowy paradise, with most regions seeing a blanket of white. The best ski resorts and snow experiences, however, are found in the north, where snowfall is at its most generous. Here’s a list of must-visit snowy spots across Japan

  • Ginzan Onsen, Yamagata Step into a winter fairy tale with its historic hot spring town charm.
  • Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture Marvel at snow-covered shrines and natural beauty.
  • Nyuto Onsen, Akita Enjoy secluded hot springs amidst snowy landscapes.
  • Otaru, Hokkaido Experience a romantic snow globe city with its famous snow light path festival.
  • Ouchi Juku, Fukushima Travel back in time with its preserved snow-covered Edo-period village.
  • Shirakawa-go, Gifu Be awed by traditional thatched-roof houses under a thick layer of snow.

Each destination offers a unique blend of snow, culture, and adventure, making your winter in Japan unforgettable. Whether you’re soaking in an onsen, exploring historic towns, or enjoying winter sports, Japan’s winter wonderland awaits!

What’s winter like in Japan?

Experience the Magic of Japanese Winters! Japan transforms into a winter wonderland, with cities and towns cozily wrapped in snow. Yet, it’s undeniably chilly, with big cities like Tokyo and Osaka dipping to cool highs of around 9°C (48°F) and 10°C (50°F), and even cooler lows of 3°C (37°F) and 4°C (39°F). Brace yourself for the cold but also get ready for some crisp, sunny days!

Winter in Japan is not just about the cold; it’s surprisingly dry and sunny too, with December to February being the driest months, averaging only about 60mm of rainfall. So, while you’re packing, remember it’s all about staying warm and dry. Don’t forget to bring waterproof shoes, a sturdy jacket, and plenty of layers to ensure you’re snug and dry during your adventures in Japan’s chilly paradise.

Does it Snow in Japan in December?

Absolutely, December marks the cozy start of winter in Japan, making it a splendid time to witness snow while enjoying travel deals sweeter than peak winter months!

The snow scene in December varies by location and timing. Heading north increases your chances of experiencing Japan’s winter wonderland. Central regions might surprise you with snowfall, but don’t expect the coastal and southern areas to join the snowy party.

As December progresses, especially around Christmas, your chances of seeing snow go up, making the end of the month a magical time for snow seekers. So, pack your bags for a December adventure in Japan and let the winter magic begin!

Japan’s Snowy Region All-Stars

Japan’s Snowy Region All-Stars
Japan’s Snowy Region All-Stars

Looking for a winter wonderland in Japan? Aim for Hokkaido, Tohoku, and Hokuriku regions, famous for their generous blankets of snow. Here, snow lovers can dive into heaps of powdery bliss.

On the flip side, warmer southern spots like Shikoku, Kyushu, and Okinawa are less acquainted with snowflakes. But if it’s the snow you’re craving, stick to the snowy champions.

And there’s more – Gifu, Kyoto, Tottori, Tochigi, and Gunma also welcome significant snowfall, offering unique places to soak in breathtaking snowy views. Get ready to experience snow in Japan like never before!

Top 10 Things to Do to Enjoy Snow in Japan

Imagine Japan in winter, and you’re whisked away to a scene of snow monkeys lounging in steamy hot springs, the fluffiest snow blanketing renowned ski resorts, and historic villages that seem plucked right from a winter fairy tale.

Ready to experience Japan’s winter magic? Here are the must-visit spots and top activities to make the most of the snowy season

Walk Around Ginzan Onsen

Discover the Winter Magic of Ginzan Onsen! Nestled in Yamagata Prefecture, Ginzan Onsen transforms into a winter fairy tale. Imagine a picturesque hot spring town, where instead of the public baths, you wander by a river under the glow of old-fashioned street lamps, surrounded by traditional ryokans blanketed in snow. The magic peaks at night when the lights come alive, and with a bit of luck, you’ll find yourself in a gentle snowfall.

Walk Around Ginzan Onsen
Walk Around Ginzan Onsen

For a truly serene experience, plan this as a day trip, especially if you haven’t booked a private onsen, since the town offers limited activities outside its peak seasons.

When to Visit Ginzan Onsen for Snow? January is magical! Here’s a quick snow guide:

  • December sees about 4.5 snow days a week with 10.2 inches of snow.
  • January ups the game to 5.7 snow days and 13 inches of snow.
  • February follows with 5.2 snow days a week and 10.2 inches of snow.

Visit Shirakawago

Step into a Winter Fairytale at Shirakawago! Nestled in Gifu Prefecture, Shirakawago isn’t just a village; it’s a living museum celebrated for its gassho-zukuri houses. These traditional thatched-roof beauties have earned it a spot as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Visit Shirakawago
Visit Shirakawago

Winter transforms Shirakawago into a snowy paradise, with its roofs blanketed in white, making it a must-visit for a magical experience. To truly soak in its charm, consider spending a night. Wander the village by day and be enchanted by its nighttime glow.

When to Visit Shirakawago for a Winter Wonderland

  • January is prime time, offering the deepest snowfall. Here’s a quick snow guide:
  • December Expect snow for about 3.4 days a week, with accumulations around 12.2 inches.
  • January Snow falls for about 4.7 days each week, piling up to 18.9 inches.
  • February Snow graces the village for 4.0 days weekly, with 13.8 inches of coverage.

Find Japanese Macaques at Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park

Ready for a unique winter adventure? If you’re dreaming of seeing snow monkeys in Japan, set your sights on Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park in Nagano Prefecture. This enchanting place is where Japanese macaques, also known as snow monkeys, soak in hot springs amid snowy mountain vistas. Although the park welcomes visitors year-round, winter is the prime time to catch these charming creatures warming up in the waters.

Find Japanese Macaques at Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park
Find Japanese Macaques at Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park

One of my most memorable travel experiences was watching these monkeys, and I highly recommend it if you’re in Nagano or up for a day trip from Tokyo. The sight of a Japanese macaque gazing serenely from the hot spring, or a mother with her baby clinging on as they navigate the snowy landscape, is simply unforgettable.

The best months to visit? January and February, when the park turns into a winter wonderland. And if you’re eager for a sneak peek before your trip, check out the live camera feed from the park. Don’t miss this magical experience that’s sure to be a highlight of your Japan adventure!

See Snow Monsters at Zao Onsen Ski Resort

Discover the Magic of Zao Onsen Ski Resort in Yamagata Prefecture! This winter paradise is not just for skiing; it’s home to the enchanting “snow monsters” or “juhyo,” where trees transform into captivating ice sculptures due to the freezing winds. It’s a sight to behold for everyone, whether you’re hitting the slopes or just there for the views. Hop on a ropeway or gondola to meet these icy giants up close.

See Snow Monsters at Zao Onsen Ski Resort
See Snow Monsters at Zao Onsen Ski Resort

When to Visit? The best time to experience the full majesty of Zao Onsen’s snow monsters is in mid-February. Don’t miss out on this unique spectacle that combines natural beauty with winter fun

Explore the Sapporo Snow Festival

Get ready for a winter wonderland like no other at the Sapporo Snow Festival, Japan’s iconic celebration of snow and ice! Every year, this dazzling event transforms Sapporo into a magical snowy city, drawing crowds from around the globe. Taking place in early February, the festival lasts for a week and is a spectacle of giant snow sculptures and glittering ice structures that come alive with lights at night.

Explore the Sapporo Snow Festival
Explore the Sapporo Snow Festival

The festival spreads across three main sites, each offering its unique charm. Odori Park, the heart of the festival, showcases breathtaking snow sculptures that glow enchantingly after sunset. Over at Station Avenue, more illuminated sculptures await, creating a mesmerizing pathway. For those seeking adventure, Tsudomoe is the go-to spot with fun-packed activities like ice skating and snow rafting.

Mark your calendars for the Sapporo Snow Festival 2024, happening from February 4th to 11th. It’s an unforgettable experience that brings together the beauty of winter and the warmth of community in the heart of Sapporo City on Hokkaido. Don’t miss out on this spectacular celebration of winter’s magic

Stop by the Otaru Snow Light Path Festival

Step into a Winter Fairytale at the Otaru Snow Light Path Festival! Coinciding with the enchanting Sapporo Festival, Otaru, a quaint port city in Hokkaido, transforms into a magical winter wonderland every February. Picture this: lanterns glowing warmly and intricate snow sculptures adorning the streets, casting a spell of wonder on this charming city.

Stop by the Otaru Snow Light Path Festival
Stop by the Otaru Snow Light Path Festival

As you wander through the snowy paths, don’t forget to treat yourself to delicious local food and drinks, adding warmth and joy to your magical stroll.

🌨️ Experience the Magic: Otaru Snow Light Path Festival 2024
📅 When? February 10 – 17, 2024

Don’t miss this mesmerizing blend of light, art, and winter’s touch in Otaru. It’s more than a festival; it’s a celebration of winter’s beauty, waiting for you to explore

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