Top 5 Winter Activities in Japan
The secret is out, not only is Japan the place to visit during spring cherry blossom season and the summertime, Japan is a winter wonderland with voluminous activities to enjoy in the winter time as well.
Top Japan Winter Activity # 1: “Skiing in Japan”
With some of the most reliable snow any-where, Japan may be the Skiing World’s best-kept secret – the perfect place to combine some world-class skiing with an exotic vacation. Japan offers stunning mountains vistas, kilometres of perfectly groomed runs at all levels of difficulty, along with gnarly mogul runs, snowboard parks, friendly locals and great food.
Top Japan Winter Activity # 2: “Japanese Onsen”
The Japanese are very devoted to their winter comforts when the first frosts arrive: blankets, called kotatsu, steaming teas and season cuisine like sukiyaki. But one of the winter activities you must try, is soaking in an outdoor onsen – rotenburo – relax in the hot water while snow falls all around you – a truly unforgettable experience.
Japan Winter Activity #3: “Snow Monkeys”
Hundreds of Japanese Snow Monkeies live in the Japanese Alps and the region of Nagano, particularly in Jigokudani Yaen Koen. This park, which is specially dedicated to these monkeys, is an opportunity for a beautiful winter walk through a forest dotted with hot springs, and a meeting with these noisy primates.
Japan Winter Activity # 4: “Sapporo Snow Festival”
In 1950, six students from Sapporo decided to build snow sculptures for fun, and the idea appealed to the local community. Two years later the exhibition became a festival and attracted many participants and visitors. The reputation of the festival crossed borders, and in 1974, it was held along with an international ice carving competition. Since then it has become one of the world’s largest winter events.
The main festival site is located along Odori Park, in the heart of the city. The largest snow sculptures, some over 15 meters high, are exhibited there. Not far away in the lively Susukino, the ice sculpting competition takes place. You can also attend a beauty contest for the annual “Ice Queen”. The Tsu Dome, open from 9am to 5pm and located further out of the city center, offers more snow sculptures, winter sports (luge maze). Inside the dome, you can enjoy a concert, whilst tasting local specialties from food stalls.
Japan Winter Activity # 5: Nara Illuminations
See more than three thousand traditional Japanese lanterns, shining for three days during this festival, which is held every year from February 3rd at Kasuga Taisha Shrine.
The people of Nara have continued this tradition for more than eight hundred years. The lanterns are mostly offered by citizens, but some are nevertheless dedicated to the memory of samurai who battled during the Sengoku period
The lanterns take you back to a time when electricity did not yet exist. A warm glow in the heart of winter evokes Shinto mysticism, flickering flames that partially illuminate the gilding and vermillion color of the temple, a festival tinged with sweet poetry, not to be missed from February 3rd, the day when winter turns into spring, a change called setsubun in Japanese
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