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Winter in Tokyo: Top 3 things to do

Walking Tours in Tokyo  | Tokyo in Winter
Photo: Tokyo Station Winter | Image Courtesy of Manish Prabhune / Flickr

Travelling to any country including Japan during winter is not as appealing as autumn and spring season. The cold weather which sometimes includes snow limits the activities you can do. With layers of clothing needed to go outside, staying at home might be your ideal option in winter. However, Japan’s winter offers variety of things suitable for different types of tourists - sports enthusiast, cultural aficionado and festivities fans.

Winter in Japan usually starts from December to February. As known to everyone, each place in Japan offers many fun and exciting activities all throughout the year including the dreaded winter.

If you are in Tokyo for winter, you can enjoy winter by including in your things to do in Tokyo the following activities:

Tokyo Winter Tour
Photo: Tokyo Snowboard | Image Courtesy of Hamish Duncan / Unsplash

1. Skiing and snowboarding at Tokyo’s Yuzawa

Yuzawa is a town at the northern part of Tokyo which houses more than 20 ski and snowboard resorts. Some of the resorts here offer inter-resort tickets that allow you to access more than one snow mountain at the same time.

The most famous ski and snowboard resort in Tokyo is Gala Yuzawa. Its accessibility, various slopes suited for beginners, advanced and professional, and overall snow condition, make it the perfect destination for your skiing and snowboarding adventure in Tokyo. Gala Yuzawa is only less than two hours away via shinkansen from the city of Tokyo. They also provide English native instructors, so tourists can enjoy and learn more about the sports. The resort is open from mid-December to Early May at 08:00-17:00. For their price list, you may visit their website for the available packages.

If you fell in love with this sport and decided to make it as your hobby, you should take a day tour at Tokyo’s famous sports hub, Jimbocho! You can buy sports gears and equipment not only for winter sports but for all other outdoor activities at a discounted price. Stores here give frequent sale promotions. You might want to ask a local for tips on finding best deals!

Walking Tours in Tokyo
Photo: Tokyo Fox | Image Courtesy of CloudVisual / Unsplash

2. Interaction with Japan’s famous mythical creature, fox

Miyagi Zao Fox Village of Japan - While travelling in Japan, one of the animals that you could see almost everywhere is fox or kitsune. Japanese folklore depicts fox as magical and intelligent. In Shintoism, a major religion in Japan, foxes are known as messengers of the gods.

In ancient time, foxes and Japanese used to live together. With the significance of fox in Japan’s culture, a village where you can see and interact with kitsune was created.

Zao Fox Village is located at the mountains of Miyagi, northern part of Tokyo. It is recommended to visit the village during winter when the mountains are covered with white snow, a perfect backdrop for the brightly-colored foxes. It makes your interaction with the 6 variety of magical foxes in the village more whimsical.

The village can be accessed in less than 2 hours via Shinkansen from Tokyo. From the station, take a cab to the village which is around 4,000 yen one way so it’s best to go on a group to split the cost. The entrance fee is 1,000 yen. You can feed them for 100 yen per food bag or cuddle with them for 400 yen. The village is closed during Wednesdays.

While the foxes might seem gentle with their cute and soft look, visitors are still encouraged to be cautious since they are still considered a wild animal and can bite you. There is also minimal supervision while roaming around the village so better be careful during your visit! If you want to know more about the cultural significance of kitsune in Japan, a local is your best source. The best way to meet a local is to join free walking tours in Tokyo.

Things to do in Tokyo
Photo: Caretta Shiodome | Image Courtesy of ajari / Flickr

3. Holiday treat: Winter illumination around Tokyo

Japan is recognized for being adept and leader in technology and innovation. And they certainly know how to use this skill in producing one-of-a-kind and spectacular illumination that makes Tokyo shines bright during winter.

Even though there is no official contest for the best and brightest illumination event, each district levels-up their game every year. With the use of advance technology such as LED lights, they produce amazing winter illumination shows from as early as November until end of December that draw a huge crowd of locals and tourist.

Below are some of the districts with the best winter illumination event you can include in your itinerary when you visit Tokyo in winter:

  • Caretta Shiodome

  • Roppongi Hills

  • Tokyo Midtown

  • Omotesando Hills

  • Marounouchi

  • Meguro River

  • Shibuya Blue Cave

  • Tokyo Illumilia

This page will be updated once the official calendar for the winter illumination events have been released.

While winter is usually gloomy and dark, Japan through its abundant nature’s beauty, rich culture and skills in technology can transform their cities like Tokyo into a winter wonderland.

The days during winter are cold and shorter so you want to maximize each day that you are in Tokyo. Plan ahead and list down all the things you can do in your day tour in Tokyo. Tips and guides from the locals will be especially helpful in this season. The best way to get in touch with the locals is by joining free walking tours in Tokyo – you’ll also get interesting stories and secrets as told by a local.


Tokyo Localized provides visitors and travellers to Tokyo with a unique perspective of this great city, what makes us unique is that our tour guides live and work in Tokyo, have a passion for this city and love meeting and welcoming new faces. Find out more about our Unique Day and Night Tours of Tokyo - we can't wait to meet you!

Rocel is a believer of living life to the fullest through creating memories with her loved ones – family, friends and self. One of the things she enjoys doing with them is travelling where they get to experience new cultures, new cuisines, new stories to share and memories to look back. In 2018 alone, she travelled to 5 continents which exposed her to the world’s wonders. After all those trips, Japan is still one of her favorite countries because of its unique and rich culture and natural resources. She lived and studied in Tokyo, Japan for one year where she developed deeper love and appreciation towards the country.


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