It’s not too long before the Winter period starts again, and of course, there’s enough to do in Japan during the Winter. Today I present you five reasons to visit Japan during this season.
1. Lucky bags
A lucky bag, also known as fukubukuro, is a Japanese New Year habit. The first few days of the new year shops sell bags filled with stuff for a good deal. You can, for instance, buy a bag for €100, but it will contain normally sold for a higher value. Lucky bags often come in different sizes and prices, but they remain mystery bags, so if you don’t want to spend too much money you can always go for a cheaper one. Furthermore, they are so popular that people start queuing the night before, mainly at the more popular shops and brands. So if you found a smaller shop you like that’s less popular you can easily get one or two lucky bags the next morning.
2. Sapporo snow festival
During the Winter Japan organizes fun events you can visit, like the snow festival in P. This is a festival spread out over seven days at three different locations in Sapporo. This is one of the bigger Winter events in Japan and therefore attracts more visitors, both from Japan and from tourists. During this festival people build art pieces out of snow and ice, it’s beautiful to see and the talent of many people is simply breathtaking. Odori Park and Susukino are the places to be for the works of art, and in Tsudome you’ll find many different food stands. There are also slides made out of snow which you can use, so there’s enough to see and to do.
3. Hot springs
During the cold days, it’s nice to drop by a hot spring. Here you can enjoy and relax in the warm water. There are different bathhouses in Japan, and you can choose if you want to sit in an inside or an outside bath, separate or in a bath mixed with both genders. Even though the inside baths often look nice, the outside baths are a lot nicer. Especially in the Winter when it’s snowing. Unfortunately, you can’t go inside with swimwear, so you have to be completely naked with exception of a towel. Don’t let this scare you off though, because in the end, it’s really worth it.
4. Snow monkeys
If you are a lover of animals or like to take photos the snow monkeys (Macaca fuscata) a must visit for you. The park is open the whole year round, but the Winter is the best time to visit them. The snow-covered park and the many monkeys relaxing in the warm water is a sight to behold. Especially if the monkeys themselves are covered in snow. This also grants you the opportunity to take some nice photos.
5. Winter illuminations
The Winter illuminations in Japan are simply beautiful, you can see them in different cities and places around Christmas and New Years. These lights aren’t the standard lights in the trees on the side of the road, no. They make it big and there are even light shows. It might be a bit difficult to put into words how beautiful and large this country is, so below I have placed a video of one of the light shows, made in 2012.