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Best Winter Travel in Japan

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posts: 52
reviews: 24
Best Winter Travel in Japan

We would like to spend 15 good days in Japan in January.

We need advice on nice places to go. Places that give their best in the winter.

We have been to Japan a number of times but always in other seasons, and we would like to spend some time in a nice onsen with a lot of snow. Possibly in a small place.

Though we will not go skiing, so we don't plan to include Hokkaido in this trip.

Please advise

Destination Expert
for Chicago, Illinois
posts: 31,910
reviews: 66
1. Re: Best Winter Travel in Japan


Duck Key, Florida
posts: 120
reviews: 29
2. Re: Best Winter Travel in Japan


I'm in pretty much the same boat..we've always visited Japan in the summer, (usually Tokyo/Nagoya/Osaka/Hiroshima on the coast) but we're heading back there in Nov 08 for a bit of cooler weather, and have managed to arrange a stay at Nagano this time around. This is where the '98 Winter Olympics were held, so I would imagine there is a fair bit of the infrastructure still around. The Yamano Hotel is (going by the reviews on T.A.) the place to stay, and because it's only an hour and a bit on Shinkansen from Tokyo or Nagoya, it's gotta be easier than heading up to Hokkaido.

Have a look a the reviews on Nagano, and the hotel etc. and see what you think.

Cheers, and good luck.


Cairns, Qld, OZ

Seattle, Washington
posts: 634
reviews: 5
3. Re: Best Winter Travel in Japan

I like Nozawa Onsen in winter - it's a ski resort but also a very nice small town. The ryokans cook their eggs & veggies in the hot onsen water.


it's an hour busride from Nagano station.

We stayed at Sumiyoshiya which was great; service was wonderful as was the food. Baths very pretty though not terribly large - but there are a dozen or so public onsen sprinkled around the town in very cool traditional buildings.

There is a festival there the 15th of January that I've always wanted to see. Lots of fire and sake drinking.

Jigokudani is also fun in winter, where the monkeys sit in their own hot spring.


I've stayed at Korakukan which is shabby but cool. The monkeys climb all over the place during the day and sleep on the hot water pipes at night. They also get in the outdoor bath there.


Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong, Osaka
posts: 34,652
reviews: 77
4. Re: Best Winter Travel in Japan

Hokkaido is not all about skiing. In fact, in Eastern Hokkaido, the natural scenery can be absolutely spectacular. In February, the Sapporo Snow Festival is also world famous. Soaking in an outdoor onsen while snowflakes are falling is one of the great experiences of life.

posts: 36
5. Re: Best Winter Travel in Japan

Yup, I must agree with Sammy here. I spent 2 weeks in Hokkaido last year and it was absolutely the best holiday in my 40 years. I did not ski although we did go to a ski resort. In fact, I was even comtemplating of going there again this year but decided to try out Tokyo, Kyoto & Osaka instead. My trip report here: tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g298560-i5079-k161…

Good luck! I know u will enjoy Japan regardless where u go.

posts: 52
reviews: 24
6. Re: Best Winter Travel in Japan

Thank you very much everybody.

I will look more into the places you recommended.

Actually Spendthrift, I really appreciate gettng links to smaller places like those, thanks.

I hope to receive more hints...

Nashville, TN
Destination Expert
for Himeji, Kobe, Osaka
posts: 1,650
reviews: 14
7. Re: Best Winter Travel in Japan

Take the trip from Himeji to Kinosaki Onsen. It's a couple of hours through some fairly rugged mountains. Hyogo Prefecture has several ski resorts and the Japan Sea coast can get a lot of snow in winter. Kinosaki is unique and is worth visiting anytime; but winter is great. You might stop at the Ikuno Ginzan (silver mines) on the way; I'm not sure how that works (don't know if that station is a major stop or not) since I drove there. But it's a different experience.

If you can, try to also go to Yumura Onsen, also in Hyogo Prefecture. Try to stay near the center of town if you can; the river is quite nice with snow around it.

Finally, in the same area, is the Tajima Daibutsu. I've never been there in winter, but it's a pretty unique place. The story I heard is that some businessmen wanted to build a modern giant buddha temple but the only place they could get to do it is in the middle of nowhere Hyogo Prefecture (Tajima). The only thing is, I don't know how you'll get there. I don't think there's a train station nearby, and I assume buses go there but am not certain. We went there by car from Yumura. It's pretty, though, and I imagine if there's snow on the mountains it'll be spectacular.



John W.

posts: 52
reviews: 24
8. Re: Best Winter Travel in Japan

Thank you John,

I will check out these places.

Middle of nowhere is exactly what I look for.

9. Re: Best Winter Travel in Japan

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