Close to Tokyo: 5 Great Spots to Enjoy During Japan's Winter Season



Close to Tokyo: 5 Great Spots to Enjoy During Japan's Winter Season


There are a few sights and spots you can only enjoy during the winter season in Japan from December to February. Join us as we introduce a few that are easy to get to from central Tokyo!

1. Tokyo Skytree | a Seasonal Skate Rink

1. Tokyo Skytree | a Seasonal Skate Rink

TOKYO SKYTREE TOWN® in Oshiage opens up a skate rink in the Sky Arena on the 4th floor for the winter season. At night you can skate with the lit up Skytree in the background.
At night you can skate with the lit up Skytree in the background.

After enjoying some winter activities and attractions you can head to TOKYO Solamachi® where you'll find souvenir shops and restaurants.


Address: 1-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida-ku, Tokyo
Place: TOKYO SKYTREE TOWN 4th floor, Sky Arena
Opening period: To be determined
Hours: please check the official website
Access: short walk from Tokyo Skytree Station on the Tobu Skytree Line / short walk from Oshiage Station on the Tobu Skytree Line, Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line, Keisei Oshiage Line and Toei Asakusa Line

Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture | Misotsuchi no Tsurara

Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture | Misotsuchi no Tsurara

Misotsuchi no Tsurara is a breathtaking view that you can enjoy for only two months in winter. Next to Tokyo, in Saitama Prefecture, is a natural landscape filled with huge icicles. Every year during the Ootaki Koori Festival the icicles are illuminated for a magical view.
Misotsuchi no Tsurara, Chichibu local food
Misotsuchi no Tsurara icicles
Misotsuchi no Tsurara, warm fire
Misotsuchi no Tsurara natural landscape

There are shops and cafes nearby where you can stop for a hot cup of coffee or amazake. You can also try some of Chichibu's local cuisine like miso potato and miso konjac.


Wood Roof Oku-Chichibu Auto Camp Ground, Misotsuchi no Tsurara | ウッドルーフ奥秩父オートキャンプ場 三十槌の氷柱(みそつちのつらら)
Address: 4066-2 Otaki, Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture
Opening period: January to February, exact dates to be determined (may end early depending on ice conditions)
Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Admission fee: 200 yen/person (middle school students and above)
Access: from Mitsumineguchi Station on the Chichibu Railway take the Seibu Kanko Bus bound for Mitsumine Shrine/Otaki Rojin Fukushi Center/Nakatsugawa (15 min.), get off at Otaki Onsen Yuyukan and take the Chichibu Municipal Bus bound for Kawamata (3 min.). Get off at Misoba and walk 10 minutes.
Parking fee: cars 500 yen, motorbikes 200 yen
Event Information
■Misotsuchi Icicle Illumination
Event period:
mid-January to mid-February, 2021 dates to be determined
Hours: please check the official website

■Sale of special Otaki products organized by the Chichibu Tourist Association
Event Period:
2021 dates to be determined
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

3. Lake Yamanaka and Lake Kawaguchi |Mt. Fuji Sunset and Winter Fireworks

Lake Yamanaka DIAMOND FUJI WEEKS (details to be determined)
Diamond Fuji from Lake Yamanaka
Lake Yamanaka ice candles
Lake Yamanaka ice candles 2
Lake Yamanaka winter fireworks
Pictures courtesy of Yamanakako Tourist Association

From the shores of Lake Yamanaka in Yamanashi Prefecture, you can see a view called "Diamond Fuji" where the setting sun shines on the top of Mt. Fuji. From early to mid-February the weather is the most stable so there are a lot of people coming here for pictures. During this period called "DIAMOND FUJI WEEKS" ice candles are lit up and firework shows are held. (as of December 2019 the details are to be determined)



(as of November 2020 the details are to be determined. Please check the official website)
Address: Yamanaka Yanashiri - Tsukuba Daigaku Ryo Maehama
Event period: Early to mid-February (when Diamond Fuji is visible)
Access: from Mt. Fuji Station on the Fujikyuko Line take the Fujikyu Yamanashi bus bound for Asahigaoka (25 min.) and get off at the Yamanakako stop.
Event Information
Ice Candle Festival
Address: Yamanakako Communication Plaza "kirara" 479-2 Hirano, Yamanakako-mura, Yamanashi Prefecture
Starting date: mid-February

*the event may be delayed or cancelled due to rain, bad weather or floods.

2021 Lake Kawaguchi Winter Fireworks

From Lake Yamanaka we cross to the other side of Mt. Fuji Station to Lake Kawaguchi, where every winter a fireworks festival is held. During the event period there are 13 fireworks displays held at night. The fireworks illuminating the winter's clear sky are a different experience than summer fireworks.
Lake Kawaguchi Winter Fireworks 1
Lake Kawaguchi Winter Fireworks 2


2021 Lake Kawaguchi Winter Fireworks | 2021河口湖・冬花火 
Address: Oike Park near Lake Kawaguchi
Event period: Saturdays and Sundays from January 16, 2021 to February 21, 2021. Also held on Tuesday February 23, 2021 (Mount Fuji day)
Hours: 8:00 p.m. - 8:15 p.m.
Access: 12 min. by bus from Kawaguchiko Station on the Fuji Kyuko Line. Get off at Kawaguchiko Herb Hall.

4. Yamanakako Onsen | Mt. Fuji Sunrise and Hot Springs

Yamanakako Onsen sunrise on mount Fuji

"Benifuji" (red Mt. Fuji) is a phenomenon that can be seen during sunrise in winter. During the approximately 12 minutes right before the sun comes up, the snow-covered mountain slowly turns red in a breathtaking view. At the Yamanakako Onsen Benifuji no Yu hot spring you can admire this view while soaking in a soothing hot bath. From December to February, when the red Mt. Fuji is the most beautiful, the baths are open from 6 in the morning on Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays.

*The baths open at the normal time (10:00 a.m.) on weekdays except for January 1 to 3 when they open at 6:00 a.m.
Yamanakako Onsen
Yamanakako Onsen outside bath
Yamanakako Onsen outside


Yamanakako Onsen Benifuji no Yu | 山中湖温泉 紅富士の湯
Address: 865-776 Yamanaka, Yamanakako-mura, Yamanashi Prefecture
Hours: 10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. (admission until 8:30 p.m.)
*opens at 6:00 a.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays from December to February
Closed on Tuesday (always open on national holidays, during Golden Week, from July to September and during the New Year)
Admission fee: adults 800 yen, students 600 yen, elementary school students 300 yen, free for children below elementary school.
*people with tattoos are not allowed

5. Shibu Onsen in Nagano Prefecture | Watch Monkeys Warm up in a Hot Spring

At Jigokudani Monkey Park in Nagano Prefecture you can watch wild Japanese macaque monkeys from up close. During the colder months of winter, these monkeys are known to sometimes soak in the hot springs to warm up. They are affectionately known as "snow monkeys". 
Shibu Onsen, snow monkeys
monkeys bathing in hot springs
Jigokudani Monkey park information board
Jigokudani Monkey Park

Since these monkeys are completely in the wild there is no guarantee that you'll be able to see them bathing. However you might be able to observe other everyday life scenes like the cubs playing together or mothers hugging the children for warmth, together with the beautiful natural landscapes.

Near Jigokudani Monkey Park is the natural treasure Jigokudani spring, a natural hot spring where you can feel the power of nature.


Jigokudani Monkey Park | 地獄谷野猿公苑
Address: 6845 Oaza-hirao, Yamanouchi-machi, Shimotakai-gun, Nagano Prefecture
Opening period: winter time, around November to March
Hours: around 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (you can find the exact hours of that day at the top of the official site)
Always open
Admission fee: adults 800 yen, elementary to high school students 400 yen. Free for children below elementary school)
Access: 40 min. by bus from Nagano Station on the Nagano Electric Railway. Get off at the Kanbayashi Onsen stop and walk 35 minutes
The website has a live camera.

Not far from the Monkey Park is also Shibu Onsen, a hot spring resort that hosts 9 outside baths as well as restaurants and shops. Throughout the region there are several natural hot springs, so you can enjoy trying the different qualities of the hot springs at different establishments.
Shibu Onsen 1
Shibu Onsen 2


Shibu Onsen | 渋温泉
Address: Hirao
, Yamanouchi-machi, Shimotakai-gun, Nagano Prefecture
Access: approx. 7 min. by bus from Yudanaka Station on the Nagano Electric Railway. Get off at Shibu Onsen Iriguchi.

We hope you got some inspiration for winter time activities in Japan. Please remember that it gets really cold from December to February so be sure to dress accordingly and take measures to stay warm.

*The above article is based on information from December 2017.
*Some of the information was updated in November 2021.
*Some of the images are from past events.
*Dates, times and other information in this article are subject to change. Be sure you check the official websites before visiting.


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