Japan holds a special magic during the winter months, and December, in particular, is an ideal time to experience it. From the glittering lights of winter illuminations to the thrilling winter sports, there are so many things to do in Japan during December. Here are 10 amazing things to do that will make your December in Japan an unforgettable experience.
Experience the Magic of Winter Illuminations
Winter illuminations are a must-see attraction in Japan during December. The country is known for its spectacular illuminations, which cover parks, buildings, and shopping districts. These glittering displays of light and color create a romantic and festive atmosphere, perfect for a night out.
Japan’s winter illuminations are a unique experience that you won’t want to miss. The country’s love for technology and attention to detail make these displays some of the most impressive in the world. Visitors can enjoy the stunning visual displays while also experiencing the warmth and hospitality of Japanese culture.
Tokyo’s Caretta Shiodome
In Tokyo, Caretta Shiodome is a must-visit for its impressive light show. With over 250,000 LEDs, the Caretta Illumination is an unforgettable sight. The show runs from November to February and is free to visit.
Located in the heart of Tokyo, Caretta Shiodome is a shopping and entertainment complex that offers a unique winter illumination experience. Visitors can enjoy the dazzling light show while also exploring the shopping mall’s many stores and restaurants. The Caretta Illumination is a perfect way to get into the holiday spirit while also experiencing the excitement of Tokyo’s bustling city life.
The Kobe Luminarie is another highly popular winter illumination display. This commemorative light festival aims to remember the victims of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake. The festival turns the city into a magical wonderland of lights, attracting visitors from all over Japan.
The Kobe Luminarie is a testament to the resilience and strength of the people of Kobe. The festival’s stunning displays of light and color are a symbol of hope and renewal, reminding visitors of the city’s remarkable recovery from the devastating earthquake. The festival is also a celebration of Japanese culture, with traditional music and food on offer throughout the event.
Nabana no Sato in Mie Prefecture
Located in Mie Prefecture, Nabana no Sato is a popular nature park transformed into a breathtaking winter illumination display. The park boasts Japan’s longest tunnel of lights, with over 7 million LED lights. The illumination display is open from October to May, and visitors can also enjoy a variety of activities, including hot springs, shopping, and dining.
Nabana no Sato is a unique and unforgettable experience that offers visitors a chance to escape the city and immerse themselves in Japan’s natural beauty. The park’s stunning winter illumination display is a perfect complement to its natural surroundings, creating a magical and romantic atmosphere that visitors will never forget. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or an exciting adventure, Nabana no Sato has something for everyone.
Explore Japan’s Winter Festivals
Japan’s winter festivals are a great way to appreciate Japanese culture and traditions while having fun. These festivals take place throughout the country and offer a unique experience for visitors.
Winter in Japan is a magical time, with snow-covered landscapes and plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. The festivals are a celebration of this season and all that it has to offer.
Sapporo Snow Festival
The Sapporo Snow Festival is one of Japan’s most famous winter festivals. The festival attracts millions of visitors every year who come to see the incredible snow sculptures that dot the festival grounds. These sculptures are created by artists from all over the world and can be as tall as 15 meters. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of food stalls offering local delicacies such as hot ramen noodles and grilled seafood. Stage performances featuring traditional Japanese music and dance are also a highlight of the festival. For those who love snow sports, there are plenty of activities to try, including snowboarding and skiing.
Chichibu Night Festival
The Chichibu Night Festival, held in Chichibu City, is known for its breathtaking floats, illuminated with lanterns, and its fireworks display. The festival attracts thousands of visitors to the region every year to experience this spectacular event. The floats are made of wood and decorated with intricate carvings and paintings. They are then adorned with lanterns, creating a stunning visual display. The fireworks display is also not to be missed, with colorful explosions lighting up the night sky.
Otaru Snow Light Path Festival
The Otaru Snow Light Path Festival is famous for its enchanting snow lanterns that illuminate the city’s historical streets. The festival takes place in early February, making it the perfect way to cap off the winter season. Visitors can stroll through the streets, admiring the intricate snow sculptures and lanterns. The festival also features live music performances and food stalls offering local specialties such as grilled squid and hot sake. The festival culminates in a grand fireworks display, lighting up the night sky and creating a magical atmosphere.
Overall, Japan’s winter festivals are a must-see for anyone visiting the country during the winter season. They offer a unique glimpse into Japanese culture and traditions, while also providing plenty of opportunities for fun and adventure.
Hit the Slopes at Japan’s Top Ski Resorts
Winter sports are one of the most popular things to do in Japan during December. With a wide range of ski resorts across the country, Japan is a top destination for ski enthusiasts.
Niseko in Hokkaido
Niseko, located in Hokkaido, is one of Japan’s top ski resorts. The resort is famous for its powder snow, which makes for excellent skiing conditions. The resort also offers a variety of other winter activities, including snowboarding and snowshoeing.
If you’re looking for a unique skiing experience, Niseko is the perfect destination. The resort offers night skiing, allowing you to hit the slopes even after the sun goes down. You can also take a break from skiing and relax in one of the many hot springs in the area.
Hakuba in Nagano
Hakuba, located in Nagano, is another popular ski resort in Japan. The resort hosted several events during the 1998 Winter Olympics and features a variety of ski runs suitable for all levels of skiers.
One of the unique features of Hakuba is the ability to ski in multiple resorts with just one lift pass. This allows you to explore a variety of different slopes and experience the best skiing that the region has to offer.
Zao Onsen in Yamagata
Zao Onsen, located in Yamagata, is a unique ski resort known for its “snow monsters.” The snow-covered trees take on a unique and eerie appearance, making for a truly unforgettable skiing experience.
In addition to skiing, Zao Onsen is also famous for its hot springs. The area has over 40 different hot springs, each with their own unique features and benefits. After a long day on the slopes, there’s nothing better than relaxing in a hot spring and soaking your muscles.
Overall, Japan is a top destination for skiing enthusiasts. With a variety of resorts to choose from, each with their own unique features and attractions, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced skier, you’re sure to have a memorable and enjoyable skiing experience in Japan.
Soak in a Winter Onsen
Japan is famous for its hot springs or “onsen.” During the winter, soaking in an onsen while surrounded by snow is an invigorating and relaxing experience. The hot water from the onsen is believed to have healing properties and is a popular activity among locals and tourists alike.
Kusatsu Onsen in Gunma
Kusatsu Onsen in Gunma is one of Japan’s most famous hot spring resorts. The town is known for the quality of its mineral-rich waters that are believed to have medicinal properties. The onsen is located in the mountains and offers stunning views of the snow-covered landscape. Visitors can also explore the town’s traditional architecture and enjoy local delicacies.
Nozawa Onsen in Nagano
Nozawa Onsen in Nagano is a charming hot spring village that attracts visitors for its excellent skiing as well as its hot springs. The village is known for its public baths and traditional ryokan that offer private hot spring baths. The onsen is surrounded by beautiful mountains and offers a peaceful retreat for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
Ginzan Onsen in Yamagata
Ginzan Onsen in Yamagata is a picturesque hot spring village that boasts a beautiful snow-covered landscape during the winter months. The village has retained its traditional architecture, giving visitors a glimpse into the past while enjoying a relaxing soak in the hot springs. The onsen is located in a valley and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
Aside from the hot springs, Japan in December offers a plethora of amazing attractions and experiences. Winter illuminations are a popular activity where visitors can witness the city’s streets and buildings lit up with colorful lights. Winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding are also popular activities during this time of the year. For those looking for a more cultural experience, there are traditional festivals and events that take place throughout the month.
December is also a great time to indulge in Japanese cuisine, especially hot pot dishes such as shabu-shabu and sukiyaki. These dishes are perfect for warming up during the cold winter months. Visitors can also enjoy traditional Japanese sweets such as mochi and wagashi, which are often served with hot tea.
Overall, Japan in December is a wonderland of amazing attractions and experiences. Plan your visit to Japan to experience these 10 amazing things to do that will make your December vacation truly unforgettable.