On travelling to Japan in December, you’ll experience a magic unlike anywhere else in the world. Being a predominantly mountainous region, there is an abundance of snow that falls here and hence, there are an abundance of snow-related things to do in Japan in this season. We hope to guide you through the country by shortlisting 13 things to do in this beautiful country. Take a look!
Weather In Japan In December
13 Amazing Things To Do In Japan In December
From ice skating to attending the Sapporo snow festival, there are plenty of things to do in Japan in December. We’ve shortlisted 13 things. Take a look:
1. Sapporo Snow Festival: Enjoy viewing the snow sculptures
Visit the Sapporo Snow Festival, which is the Biggest Snow Festival in Japan and is considered one of the biggest in the world. Dating back to 1950, the festival includes huge snow sculptures made by artists, ranging from Pikachu and Hatsune Miku to the Historical Samurai Figures and huge sculptures of Buddha. Even teams from the western countries like USA, Germany and Canada come and participate in this festival. This is perhaps the one of the best ways to spend your time in Japan in December.
2. Tokyo: Enjoy the beautiful illuminations
Although Christmas is not a big festival in Japan and people work on the day of Christmas, what is worth a watch is the beautiful lights and illuminations that are done up all across Japan, especially in the Tokyo Region. In big urban regions like Tokyo, there are many spots to see these beautiful lights. In small regions like Marunouchi and Otemachi, there is a 1.2 km line of trees illuminated in champagne gold colour. These are some of the must watch views of Japan in December.
3. Shirakawa Go: Take a walking tour
Make sure to visit the UNESCO world heritage site listed village: Shirakawa Go. This is a small village in the Gifu Prefecture of Japan. The village has 114 thatched thick roofed houses which may appear to be very different from the houses all around Japan. This is because back in the time it was isolated from the rest of Japan. The village looks especially beautiful during winters and is a popular tourist destination. Watching lights with your partner is by far one of the best things to do in Japan in December.
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4. Japan: Attend the Chichibu Night Festival
Chichibu Yomatsuri, or the Chichibu Night Festival as it is popularly known, is a traditional Japanese festival that takes place at the Chichibu Shrine from the 1st of December and goes on for 5 days until the 6th of December. Although the festival is 6 days long, the highlight of the festival is considered to be the 3rd of December when there’s a parade involving massive floating boats and fireworks. This one of the main festivals people visit while travelling to Japan in December.
5. Fuji Q Highland: Go Ice Skating
Fuji Q Highland is an amusement park located on the foothills of Mt. Fuji in the city of Fujiyoshida. This park boasts of the largest skating rink in the country, which also serves as a swimming pool in the summers. Aside from the rink, the park also has some amusement rides such as roller-coasters and Ferris wheels. The rink is very well maintained and the park gives one of the best views of the sacred Mt. Fuji. Skating is considered among one of the top activities to indulge in at Japan in December.
6. Rokuon-ji Temple: Explore
The temple is a Zen Buddhist sanctuary which is located in Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto. It was established in 1397 AD and it used to feature a villa of an important statesman. A must-see place in Kyoto, the temple offers some of the most breathtaking views in Japan. Although the weather in Japan in December is harsh, many people come and visit this place.
7. Japan: Celebrate New Year
The ‘ringing bells’ ritual of Joyo na Kane is an important New Year eve ritual for the Japanese. The ritual includes hitting a large bell at a Buddhist temple using a large log of wood. The bell is struck 108 times. The number is said to represent the number of all the human desires that exist in the world. After the ringing of bells, you go inside the temple and pray to the deity to end the year on a good note.
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8. Jigokudani Wild Monkey Park: Watch the macaques take a bath in the hot springs
Visit the Jigokudani Wild Monkey Park in Nagano to experience the adorable wild Japanese macaques enjoy themselves while they take bath in the Hot Springs inside the park. Winters in Japan can be very harsh, especially for animals like Macaques which aren’t accustomed to subzero winter temperatures in Japan. This is a great place for these animals to get some much-needed warmth and survive these harsh winters while enjoying in the hot springs of Japan.
9. Takaragawa Onsen: Revel in a top hot spring experience
Takaragawa Onsen was established in 1936 and offers a large variety of hot spring options to choose from. The most popular choice is the outdoor natural hot spring due to the mesmerising views outside. The hot spring establishment has been known to provide world class facilities and is especially popular amongst the international tourists as they are ready to shower any amount of money to avail the services here.
10. Hokkaido: Explore the Blue Pond
The Blue Pond located in the small town of Biei is an artificial lake. It was made after the mudflow of River Biegowa was stopped due to the building of a dam in the area in the year 1988. The Blue Pond became famous since it reflects a blue colour due to the presence of Hydrogen Peroxide in Water. The lake was captured and turned into a wallpaper for the Mountain Lion processor of Apple MacBook.
11. Japan: Try alpine sports
Majority of the landmass of Japan is covered with mountains and hence, receives an abundance of snowfall. The western regions of Japan Nagano and Niigata Prefectures are great places to enjoy some of the best alpine sports in all of Asia. With steep slopes and peaks reaching upto 2,000 meters, the area is good for skiing. Once you’re done skiing, you can relax in the hot springs and eat at the many cafés nearby.
12. Japan: Enjoy Christmas with your favorite Disney Characters
Numerous special events occur at the Tokyo Disney Resorts to celebrate Christmas. The Christmas season starts at the Disney Resort during the end or mid of November and continues until the end of the first week of January when the New year Celebrations end. Once you enter the park during the month of December, you’ll realise that no one knows how to celebrate Christmas better than Disney.
13. Japan: Visit the Christmas Market
What good is it a visit to Japan during December if you haven’t seen the Christmas markets of Tokyo? These ever so beautiful markets accompanied with beautiful lights are a great spectacle to watch. Make sure to hang around in these markets and shop for your loved ones. It’s a great place to shop for woollens, retail, souvenirs and furnishings.
Japan in December is simply magic. There couldn’t be a better word to describe this place in this month. Visiting Japan in winters and especially in December during Christmas time gives you a different picture of a country that is known for its down to earth populace. Don’t forget to enjoy this beautiful journey to the fullest that you are going to embark on in December on your trip to Japan.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Japan In December
What is the season in Japan in December?
Japan experiences winter season in the month of December. The season in Japan lasts from December to February.
What is there to do in Japan in December?
1. Enjoy skiing in Hokkaido 2. Indulge in snowboarding in Hokkaido 3. Attend events like Ramen Expo and Nankinmachi Lantern Festival 4. Click pictures at the Winter Illumination in Japan 5. Ice skate in Tokyo’s outdoor rings
Which is the coldest month in Japan?
January is the coldest month of the year in Japan. The Northern part of the country get covered in a thick layer of snow. Thus making it a perfect place for snow-adventure sports. Country’s middle regions receive snowfall occasionally. This region includes the capital city, Tokyo and a few other popular cities – Hiroshima, Osaka, Kyoto, and Nagoya.
Is Osaka colder than Tokyo?
Yes, Osaka is colder than Tokyo. But both the cities experience milder winter temperature as compared to the Northern part of Japan
Is December a good time to visit Japan?
Yes, December is a good time to visit Japan. The month falls in the winter season during which several parts of the country gets covered in thick snow. December is a good time for adventure enthusiasts. It is also a good time to be a part of festival and events organised in Japan.
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