Five Beautiful Places to Visit in Japan in Winter

Hokkaido Tour Winter 2019.12.23
Here is another list from JAPANKURU, take a look at our top 5 winter destinations!

Five destinations across Japan to visit this winter

The season for autumn leaves have already gone, and now it's winter.

What do you look forward to in winter?
Japanese winter warmers like hot sake, hotpots, and hot springs are just some of the things you can enjoy in Japan.
If you like outdoor activities you can go skiing, skating, and snowboarding.
Are you a food lover? There's plenty of nice food out there as well.

But how about the winter sceneries?

1. Kinugawa and Yunishigawa, The Onsen Towns of Nikko: Tochigi

  • Kinugawa is one of Japan's famous destinations for hot springs. It is a town located within Nikko city.
    Considering Nikko is only about two hours away, from Tokyo, you can easily spend a night over and return the next day.
    It is a nice getaway destination from the city. 
  • One of our favourite scenes here is the railway bridge that goes across the river in front of the Yunishigawa Onsen station. This bridge is part of the Aizu Kinugawa line train tracks and when in snow, this place is absolutely beautiful.

    The Yunishigawa onsen town is another great location near Nikko.

    Yunishigawa railway Bridge
    Address: Yunishigawa Onsen Station, Nishikawa, Nikko, Tochigi 321-2603, Japan (Map)

    Want to explore more about the area? Here's our complete guide on Nikko!

2. Hakuba, the mecca of skiing, the snowy mountains of Japan: Nagano

  • Nagano once held the winter Olympics back in 1998 has long been a favoured destination amongst skiers from all over the world. Especially here, Hakuba is part of the Hida mountain range, also known as the Northern Alpes of Japan. and yes! It's been our favourite destination for a while as well.
  • If you like outdoor activities this is one of the destinations you can't miss. Some people who really love it here even book to stay for over a week.

    Hakuba Happo Ridge Ski Resort
    Hokujo, Hakuba, Kitaazumi District, Nagano (Map)
    Read more on our guide around Nagano.

3. A train ride on the JR Tadami line from Aizuwakamatsu in Fukushima to Uonuma in Niigata: Tohoku region

  • Another location along this train line is at the Tagokura dam, which has been selected as one of the top 100 dam lakes around Japan. This dam is located at the south end of the Tadami lake where it connects to the lake of Tagokura.

    If you would like to know more about the Tadami line, find out here.

4. Noboribetsu hot springs and Otaru canal: Hokkaido

  • Yes, Hokkaido is one of the famous destinations in Japan all year round, but the Otaru canal, especially in winter when the sky starts to turn darker and the street lights turn on, the contrast of the lights and the white snow is just so beautiful.
  • The hot springs in Noboribetsu are also one of the famous onsen destinations in Japan.

    The name of this place was derived from a word in the native language of the Ainu people from Hokkaido "Nupur-pet", meaning "a deeply coloured river." This is because the hot springs in this area contain lime, which makes the water flowing out and into the river milky-white, changing the way light reflects off the body of water just like the image above.

    The image above was taken at Ohyunuma natural foot spa.
    If you would like to find out more about Hokkaido, visit our previous article on the area.

5. The hidden gems of northern Japan, the view from Jakushoji temple in Tendo city: Yamagata

  • Yamagata, a part of the Tohoku region of Japan towards the north of the main island lies the city of Tendo.
    This place is not so famous even in Japan, but for those who know, the city is famous producing the Shogi (Japanese chess) pieces and hot springs.
  • While you're in the city, don't forget to visit the Jakushoji temple that's just up in the mountains on the east of the city as well because the view from the observatory deck is one of the top scenic views in Yamagata.

    See our Tendo travel guide for more info!

Planning your winter trip in Japan for your holidays?

  • Here were our five winter favourites, and we hope this helps you with your decision making!
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