4 Experiences That Make Winter Vacation In Japan Truly Special

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

Each year there are several illuminations all around Japan. 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.

You can experience the Tokyo installations during your free time on our Japan Kanto Tour and Japan Classics Tour.

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.

Hokkaido Crab Feast
Crab Feast enjoyed on the Hokkaido Snow Festival Tour

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. 

You can try Kani Douraku during free time in Osaka’s Dotonbori district on our Japan Kansai tour and Japan Classics tour.

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.

You have the chance to soak in an open air situated over a frozen lake on our Hokkaido Snow Festival tour. Ryokan with both indoor and outdoor onsen are included on all of our Japan tours.

Open Air Onsen on the frozen Shikaribetsu Lake

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.

Snow Festival Thailand Tuk Tuk

5. Katte Don

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.

Finished Katte Don Rice Bowl

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?

2 Responses

  1. Frank Ta

    Thanks to the Supervaluetour (Signettours) team particularly your management for the tireless effort in developing all these wonderful tours and the excellent local tour guides to support them. You provide the highest quality in this very competitive travel industry and thanks to the quality my wife and I have been your loyal customers for many years now. On average, we took 2 to 3 of your tours every year. Both your Hokkaido Snow Festival tour and the Shanxi-Inner Mongolia tour we took this year were fantastic! Thanks to April and Ben for spoiling us with all your good stuffs!

    • Super Value Tours

      Hi Frank! Thank you so much for your kind words. We are very happy to hear you enjoyed your Snow Festival and Shanxi Inner Mongolia tour this year. We hope to have the opportunity to host you again in the near future.