Cherry blossoms and fall foliage are well-known in Japan, but the winter season is also beautiful. In the fall and winter, Japan’s best scenery can be found in a wide variety of enchanted locations.
Winter is a great time to travel because there is so much to see, whether you want to visit a huge ski resort, a quaint unseen town, or a beautiful ice festival. Don’t fret over the chill; there’s always the option of a hot spring or steaming bowl of ramen to enjoy after a day in the great outdoors. If you’re looking for somewhere beautiful to visit this winter, consider one of these places.
Best Places to Visit in Japan in December
In Japan, December is a great time to go ice skating or check out the Sapporo Snow Festival. Thirteen items have made the cut. Check this out:
1. Enjoy the Snow Sculptures at the Sapporo Snow Festival
Travel to Sapporo, Japan, to experience the world-famous Sapporo Snow Festival, the largest snow festival in Japan. Since its inception in 1950, the festival has featured massive snow sculptures created by artists.
These have ranged from popular characters like Pikachu and Hatsune Miku to historical figures like the Samurai and even Buddha himself. Western teams from the US, Germany, and Canada all made the trip to take part in the festival. If you find yourself in Japan in December, this could be the best plan you make for yourself.
2. In Tokyo, take in the stunning displays of lighting
Despite the fact that Christmas is not a major holiday in Japan and most people have to work on December 25, the beautiful lights and illuminations set up all over the country, especially in the Tokyo Area, are well worth seeing.
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There are many places to view these stunning displays in large cities like Tokyo. There is a 1.2 km line of trees in Marunouchi and Otemachi that are lit up in a champagne gold color. Views like these of Japan in December are not to be missed.
3. Shirakawa-go, stroll the streets
Shirakawa Go, a village, is on the list of World Heritage Sites maintained by UNESCO. This is a sleepy little town in Japan’s Gifu Prefecture. The village’s 114 dwellings all have thick thatched roofs, making them look very different from the standard Japanese home.
This is because, historically, the region was cut off from the rest of Japan. Winter is a popular time for visitors because the village is so picturesque. One of the most romantic things to do in Japan in December is to take in a light show with your loved one.
4. Visit the Chichibu Night Festival in Japan
The Chichibu Yomatsuri, or Chichibu Night Festival as it is more commonly known, begins on the first of December and continues for five days at the Chichibu Shrine.
While celebrations last for six days, the grand finale occurs on the third of December with a parade of enormous floating boats and fireworks. In December, many people flock to Japan to experience this festival.
5. Ice Skating in Fuji Q Highland
In the city of Fujiyoshida, at the base of Mount Fuji, is an amusement park known as Fuji Q Highland. The park features the largest skating rink in the United States, which doubles as a pool during the warmer months.
The park is more than just a skating rink, though; it also features rides like roller coasters and Ferris wheels. The park has one of the best views of the holy Mount Fuji, and the rink is always in excellent condition for skating. One of the best things to do in Japan in December is go ice skating.
6. Rokuon-ji Temple
Kinkaku-ji Temple is a Zen Buddhist holy site in the heart of Kyoto. It was founded in 1397 and was once home to a villa belonging to a prominent state official. The temple is a popular tourist destination in Kyoto because it is home to some of Japan’s most stunning scenery. Many people visit despite the fact that the weather in Japan in December can be quite severe.
7. Have a Happy New Year in Japan
The Japanese New Year’s Eve ‘ringing bells’ ritual, known as Joyo na Kane, is a significant tradition. At the Buddhist temple, participants hit a huge bell with a log. A total of 108 times on the bell.
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The number is often cited as symbolic of the totality of human aspirations. If you want to end the year on a positive note, you should go to the temple after the bells have rung and pray to the deity there.
8. Park of the Jigokudani Monkeys
See cute wild Japanese macaques having fun in the Jigokudani Wild Monkey Park’s Hot Springs while on a trip to Nagano, Japan.
Animals like macaques that aren’t native to Japan’s cold climate have a tough time surviving the winter. These Japanese hot springs provide an excellent refuge for these animals during the cold winter months.
9. Takaragawa Onsen
Takaragawa Onsen is a popular hot spring resort that has been open since 1936. Most people opt for the outdoor natural hot spring because of the breathtaking scenery.
Foreign visitors flock to the hot spring because they have heard it has world-class facilities and are willing to spend any amount of money to take advantage of it.
10. Visit Hokkaido’s Blue Pond
Biei is a small town home to an artificial lake known as Blue Pond. It was created after a dam was constructed in 1988, halting the mudflow of the River Biegowa.
Hydrogen peroxide in the water causes a reflection of blue, which leads to the pond’s fame. Apple’s Mountain Lion operating system now has a desktop background featuring the lake.
In December, Japan has a special magic that can’t be found anywhere else. As you might expect from a country with so many mountains, there are many winter activities in Japan that revolve around the white stuff.