Let’s Enjoy Winter in Japan!
UpdateDecember 10, 2020
ReleaseNovember 27, 2018
In Japan, you can enjoy various activities besides winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding. Why not make a special winter memory of Japan?
Asahikawa Winter FestivalFebruary 6—11, 2019
One of the famous winter festivals is the “Asahikawa Winter Festival”! You can enjoy the world’s largest snow statues that are over 130-meters high and all kinds of activities at the festival, which will be celebrating its 60th anniversary this winter. The 100-meter-long slide is the longest in the world and it will entertain not only children but adults as well. There is also an impressive show performance combining fireworks, snow statues and lights.
Snow Crystal Museum
This is a museum where you can enjoy the world of snow and ice the whole year. After opening the museum door that looks like a castle-door, you will wander into a fairy-tale-like snowy world all surrounded with white. Inside the museum, you can enjoy the sculpted ice art figures throughout the year, and 200 snow crystal photos taken from a microscope, displayed in a motif of stained-glasses, are exhibited. You can also turn into a princess by putting on a princess dress.
Asahiyama Zoo, Asahikawa CityLate December—mid-March
This northernmost zoo in Japan attracts visitors from all over the world with its exhibition style that shows the natural animal life much as it is in natural habitats.
The “Penguin Walk” will be held during the snowy season. Penguins will be taking a walk in the zoo twice a day to overcome inactivity. They will be walking in a group and their adorable appearance is a must-see.
Tsurui-Ito Tancho SanctuaryNature Center Opening Period: October—March
About 200 Japanese cranes fly to Tsurui Village every year and you can see them from the nature center using telescopes, from December through February. Souvenirs are sold as well.
Show Nebuta LanternDecember 1, 2018—March 31, 2019
The very famous summer festival in Aomori Prefecture is “Aomori Nebuta Festival.” Here you can enjoy the sight of gorgeous vivid floats called “Nebuta” made of fragile washi paper, hand-designed wire and bamboo frames. Usually, you can only see them during the summer seasons but here at “Hoshino Resorts Aomoriya” you can enjoy Nebuta made by four different Nebuta artisans even in the winter season. The 2-meter-high and 1.5-meter-wide brightly-colored floats will put on display and the contrast with the white snow scene is just fantastic.
Yellow Falls in Urabandai Ski Resort
A snowshoe trekking tour that heads out to see the Yellow Falls. The huge 10-meter-high, 8-meter-wide Yellow Falls only appears at the explosion crater of Mt. Bandai in midwinter, so it is called the “Phantom Falls.” The water contains sulfur and iron, and during the midwinter it freezes one layer after another and creates a frozen waterfall that shines in a unique golden color.
Restaurant Kamakura VillageJanuary 25—February 28, 2019
How about having a delicious meal in a warm kamakura (snow hut) in Nagano Prefecture? Kamakura is a large hut made from snow and you can enjoy “Noroshi Nabe,” a hot pot made with Nagano miso-based soup filled with locally produced pork meat and vegetables. It will warm you up!
Snow Monster IlluminationDecember 22, 2018—March 3, 2019
Zao is known for its juhyo (“snow monsters”), or trees that are glazed with snow and ice. At ski resorts in Zao, these snow monsters are lit up and you can enjoy these prodigious art works of nature.
Celebrating its 25th anniversary, there will be big events at Skijam Katsuyama. Not only can you enjoy skiing or snowboarding, but you can also make huge snowmen, participate in a sports festival on the snow field, watch the fire-performances on the mountains, and many other entertaining performance events that are planned.
Tsunan Snow FestivalMarch 9, 2019
Tsunan Snow Festival is a snowboard straight jumping competition (SNOWWAVE) held at Tsunan Town in Niigata Prefecture. You can enjoy both the snowboard competition and the sky-lanterns. Go on a treasure hunt in the snow or watch some stage events and grab your favorite local dish at the food booth. The main event will be the fantastic collaboration with fireworks and thousands of floating lanterns, which are hot air balloons released into the night sky.
*Reservation of tickets in advance is necessary in order to participate in the lantern launch.
Sapporo Snow FestivalOdori and Susukino Sites: February 4—11, 2019
Tsu Dome Site: January 31—February 11
One of the biggest and most popular winter events in Japan, and many people visit from all over the world. At Odori Park in the heart of Sapporo, which is the main site, both small and large snow sculptures are located along the 1.5-km-long park. The beautiful light up service starts from sunset time and it is a must-see. At the Tsu Dome site you can enjoy the huge snow slides and various events where you can interact with snow.
Inukko MatsuriFebruary 9—10, 2019
This is a festival with a 400-year history. Snow statues of Japanese dogs and temples are displayed around the city and people join the festival with their dogs to pray for good health.
Okuhida Winter Illumination and Kamakura FestivalLate December,2018—Late February,2019
This festival takes place in five areas in Gifu Prefecture: Hirayu, Fukuji, Shin-Hirayu, Tochio, and Shin-Hotaka. Enjoy the spectacular winter scenery and the frozen water falls with illumination!
Winter seasonal gourmet
Nabe (Hot Pot)
Ishikari-nabeHot pot gourmet seasoned with miso soup with salmon and vegetables.
Fugu-chiri (Blowfish-nabe)High class hot pot gourmet using natural blowfish.
Motsu-nabeCheap and delicious hot pot gourmet that enhances stamina using pluck meat of beef or pork.
Houtou Udon NoodlesFlat wheat noodles cooked with vegetables in Miso-based soup.
Yudofu (Hot Tofu)Tofu cooked in seaweed broth. A healthy hot pot gourmet seasoning with ponzu sauce (citrus based vinegar) and other spices.
Botan-nabeA miso soup based hot pot using ginger and Japanese spices to rid the smell of wild boar meat, which is the main ingredient.
MizutakiA hot pot gourmet that contains chicken meats and vegetables cooked in chicken and seaweed broth.
Kiritanpo-nabeA typical local hot pod gourmet in Akita using Kiritanpo (mashed rice wrapped around a stick and baked), vegetables and chicken meat cooked in soy-sauce based soup.
Zuwaigani-nabe (Snow crab hot pod)Snow crab is one of the winter delicacies in Niigata, and the sweet crab meat will enhance the flavor of the hot pot.
*The information herein is as of November 2018.