Japan is mostly known for its Cherry Blossom season, but what is winter in Japan like? There are quite a few interesting things to do that would be perfect for your winter Japan trip. And I lay exactly that along with this ultimate guide for what to pack for winter in Japan.
When is Winter in Japan?
Winter in Japan starts from December to February. The temperatures usually range from 3° C – 10° C (37.4° F – 50° F) and rarely drop below 0 degrees. Take note that as you explore north regions, it is cooler there than it is in the Southern regions. Like Kyoto and Osaka during Japan winter season are usually cooler than Tokyo.
What to Pack for Winter in Japan
Since I am from probably the hottest place on Earth (United Arab Emirates), temperatures like 3 degrees really make me cold. Whenever I have to go packing for winter travel, I always keep in mind that I need to make use of space in the best way possible.
It is not always feasible to carry your luggage with you at all times and sometimes fitting in heavy jackets might just result in extra load. I will show you how to pack light for winter travel.
TIP: Here’s a special tour of Sapporo where you can experience halal ramen and learn how to make candy. Click here for the Muslim-friendly tour.
The first thing to remember when putting together a winter packing list or, any packing guide for that matter, is to use a suitcase organizer. This organizer does a fantastic job of keeping your separate. You can keep toiletries, used clothes, and fresh clothes in different packing cubes. Click here to look at the organizer.
The next on the list are jackets. You must carry at least 2 jackets so you have a backup in case the one you are wearing is worn out. I always suggest not to carry more than two so that it doesn’t take too much space in your suitcase. I have a jacket that I bought from a thrift store but found this one that is very similar! Totally love the hood area!
I extremely love how there are lovely color alternatives available. In case you are feeling dressy, I think this red number looks stunning. Check it out here!
The best accessory to complement your winter outfit in Japan are some comfortable and fashionable boots. I especially love this shade as it is uncommon as opposed to the other browns and blacks.
To complement the color for women, I found these Winter Boots for men that are also available in a range of colors. Find them here.
It sure can get quite chilly during your Japan winter travel and you need some gloves to keep your hands warm. I have these amazing pair of mittens/gloves which can be used fingerless when you are holding your train ticket or counting change. But, can be converted to mittens with the flap when you are relaxing! I love this two-in-one feature and the best part is that it is also available in a variety of colors. See here on how you can get them.
Get your Japan winter fashion game on by dressing up in these fleece lined tights that will not only keep you insulated but also fashionable. There’s a range of colors available but I have the navy blue which is a beautiful color. Most sizes are available and the colors will surely go with most of the tops and jackets you own.
I wear a scarf to cover my hair so usually, I am warm enough. For those who don’t, I love this cute beanie hat that has a pom attached which really makes it even cuter. It is big enough that you can even sport a bun inside and the beanie would fit just fine.
One of the things I mostly neglect AND forget are socks! They are so important when you are traveling to a cold place and also when you have shoes with you. There have been events when I have forgotten to pack them and well, just have had to buy whatever was available.
Now, you don’t want to forget something and have a bad start to your Japan winter holiday. These socks are super comfortable that you might never want to take them off. Here’s how you can get them!
Japan Winter Vacation Necessities:
I am a huge fan of any organizers available since I am so organized…I’d like to say that, but I try, okay? So, this little bag is quite handy since it is large enough to carry all of your toiletries but also doesn’t take too much space in your suitcase. Available in different sizes and suitable for both men and women. See more details here.
I have found this little organizer so important for me, I feel every traveler should have it for themselves especially if only carry-on opportunities are available. See also my gifting guide where I mention this, it has all the best travel gifts for this festive season!
If you like more compartments, this toiletries bag gives you 2 big compartments so you can keep things separate; for example, toiletries and makeup. Really convenient and you don’t have to actually find for stuff when you are in a hurry. Look at the organizer here.
When you’re on the trains and sightseeing, you may not really have time to keep your phone charged. And you gotta have all that battery to capture amazing pictures of the beautiful sights there!
A powerbank is a MUST in your Japan winter vacation packing list. The reason I absolutely love this portable battery charger is that it can charge 2 devices simultaneously! Click here to see it.
I would strongly suggest you carry a camera with you to capture and make memories of visiting Japan in winter. I currently use this camera and it is my favorite since it is not too complicated to shoot and gets decent pictures. It is really my go-to when I see something that sparks my interest and want to photograph it. Click here to see its details.
It is always good to make yourself aware of the language and culture of the country you are planning to visit. The Japanese do speak English but there are times when you are going to be in places where it can get difficult for you. Lonely Planet is a trusted guide that has different phrases in Japanese that you might need to speak with the locals in Japan. This book is easy to use and not too complicated.
Find attached a map of the Metro Stations in Tokyo. You might find it overwhelming at first but once you get there, it will be easy to learn and understand how it works.
What to do in Japan in Winter:
I’m sure you must have researched way in advance before your trip, but I have curated a special list of places to visit in Japan during winter so you enjoy the most of this season!
- Experience Frozen Winterfall and Winter Illumination Show: The best things about traveling during the Japan winter months are the beautiful snow-covered trees and winter illumination shows. I especially like how this tour covers both my favorite spots with even a chance to see the winter waterfall! It’s almost a 12-hour tour but they provide a delicious lunch with a tour guide who can speak in English, Chinese, and Japanese.
- Watch Mount Fuji as you ski: It would be a shame to not enjoy the snow by skiing at the Fujiyama Snow Resort Yeti. This tour has a great view of Mount Fuji, an active volcano located in Tokyo. There are coaches for the attendees whether you are a beginner or advanced in skiing. All costumes are provided in addition to transfer between the meet-up point and the Yeti Resort.
- Watch snow monkeys in the onsen: Take a tour to the Jigokudani Onsen and watch the snow monkeys there play in the snow and bathe in the hot waters. This tour is of one-day duration with lunch, bus fare, and tour guide provided.
- Muslim-friendly tour of Sapporo: This 6-hour tour of Sapporo starts with picking you up from your accommodation and exploring Nijo market where you can indulge in the freshest fruits and seafood fare. Later, learn how to make candy at the “White Lovers” Park where you can also offer prayers at their prayer room. The tour proceeds to take you to a halal ramen shop to taste the authentic deliciousness of hot ramen soups in the cold winter weather. Here’s how you can view more details of the tour.
Where to stay in Japan:
The hotels in Japan are known for their cleanliness, hospitality, and great service. These are some of the important criteria that most travelers worry about when traveling to a new country. See some of the hotels that you can check out before planning your Japan in winter trip:
- Hotel Ryumeikan Ochanomizu Honten: Known for being one of the best-rated hotels in Tokyo, Hotel Ryumeikan is perfectly located within a 1-minute walk from Shin-Ochanomizu Subway Station. You can visit here for more details about the hotel and popular tourist landmarks situated near it.
- Hyatt Regency Osaka: If you are planning a trip to Osaka and do not mind splurging on the hotel, I’d recommend Hyatt Regency. Apart from the familiar name, Hyatt Regency is conveniently located just a 15-minute drive from Universal Studios Japan and a 3-minute walk from Nakafuto Subway Station. The views are beautiful and the quality of service unmatchable.
- Drop Inn Osaka: The best hotel I’d recommend for a solo traveler to Japan would be Drop Inn. The prices are pretty cheap and they offer free breakfast and coffee to all their guests. The rooms are dormitory-style with shared bathrooms but the whole concept has a very homely feel to it so you end up making good friends by the end of your trip. They also have shared rooms for females only so solo female travelers have a good option here. Click here for more details.
What to wear in Japan in Winter?
If you’re faced with this question, I hope this guide has cleared all your doubts about what to wear and pack for winter in Japan so you have a wonderful time there. If you have any more items that you think would do on this list, let me know!
Until then, happy traveling! xx
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