The festive atmosphere and the excitement of the holidays make winter a special time to travel. In Japan, the cooler weather brings light displays, seasonal cuisine, picturesque scenery and festivals.
1. Illumination installations around Tokyo
Each year there are several illuminations all around Tokyo, including the Shinjuku Terrace. Usually lit from 5pm -10pm, the installation in Shinjuku will include over 28,000 lights. Some of the displays are equipped with built in touch sensors which activate an audiovisual show when touched. Other popular winter illuminations include the Mikimoto Jumbo Tree in Ginza and the Caretta Shiodome.
2. Crab Cuisine
Winter in Japan also means crab is in season. With easy access to the Sea of Japan, crab is ubiquitous throughout Japan, but particularly famous in Hokkaido as much of the crab in Japan is shipped from Hokkaido. Enjoying a crab feast is included on our Hokkaido Snow Festival Tour, where the crab is prepared in 5 different ways.
One of the most famous crab restaurants is Kani Douraku, with the original restaurant based in Osaka’s Dotonbori restaurant district. Crab is present in every dish and available types of crab include: boiled crab, crab tempura, grilled crab, crab sashimi, fried crab and many more. The restaurant is instantly recognizable by the massive crab above its door.
3. Open Air Onsen
Soaking in an open air onsen or hotspring is a quintessential Japanese experience and partaking is a must during any season. However, during winter the cooler weather makes soaking in an onsen, the perfect way to appreciate winter scenery while still staying warm.
4. Sapporo Snow Festival
The now world famous annual Sapporo Snow Festival dates back over 60 years to 1950 when a group of high school students built a few snow sculptures in Odori Park. Currently, millions of people visit the Snow Festival each year in February to enjoy elaborate sculptures, ice slides and delicious Hokkaido cuisine.
Another highlight of the Snow Festival tour is the opportunity to taste delicious Hokkaido seafood, including Katte Don rice bowls at Kushiro Washo Market. This is a do-it-yourself experience, where you start with a bowl of rice and select your choice of sashimi to add to the rice. There is a very wide variety to choose from and the quality of the fish is impeccable.
Enjoy the snow festival and amazing Hokkaido cuisine on our Hokkaido Snow Festival tour. Have any of you had a chance to visit Japan during winter? What are your favorite winter in Japan activities?