Japan is a country with four distinct seasons, each with their own unique flavor. Standing out from these is winter. Japan's landscapes, covered in blankets of pristine white, can captivate and delight you. While winter in Japan lacks bright colors, it more than makes up for with a special aesthetic that cannot be felt anywhere, or anytime else.
The following are some of Japan's most famous winter events and activities.
Snow-Viewing Outdoor Hot Springs (Yukimirotenburo)
In Japan there are snow-viewing outdoor hot springs where you can enjoy hot spring waters whilst viewing snowy scenery.
This is a part of Japanese culture that can only be experienced in areas where snow fall is heavy. Enjoying snowy scenery whilst soaking in a warm hot spring is the best way to enjoy the Japanese winter.
Snow Fun (Yukiasobi)
Snowball battles (Yukigassen) and snow huts (Kamakura) are typical ways that snow is enjoyed in Japan. A snow battle is an activity that friends can easily enjoy together in which a team is formed and snowballs are thrown at the opposing team.
In recent years, the rules of the snow battle have been codified further and it is starting to enjoy fame in different parts of the world as a winter sport. Snow huts are made by first hollowing out a mound of piled-up snow and then making a space and an entrance in it. One way to enjoy a snow hut is to put a kotatsu* inside it and eat baked rice cakes with your legs underneath the kotatsu.
*Kotatsu: A traditional Japanese heating device
Snow Festivals (Yukimatsuri)
Many snow festivals take place in wintertime in Japan. The most famous of these snow festivals is the Sapporo Snow Festival, the next of which will be held from the 5th of February 2015. Another event to be held this season is the lighting-up of the gassho-zukuri* at the renown World Heritage site called Shirakawa-go, which will commence from January 2015. Visitors can enjoy the magical scene of the moment the snow-covered gassho-zukuri is lit up.
*Gassho-zukuri: A Japanese style structure with a very steep roof
Silver thaw in Zao・Mistery of Nature
A mysterious silver thaw that extends to the silvery white field is an artistic wonder of nature which is called "Ice Monster" or "Snow Monster" made of snow
The place famous for a silver thaw, an Ice Monster is Zao mountain range in Tohoku region.
As snow and drops of the cloud carried by the icy seasonal wind from Siberia continuously collide with the conifer, then they will be frozen hard. Then a lot of snows are taken into the spaceｓ of icing up. With the repetition of this phenomenon, a silver thaw is gradually formed and grow up windward.
The surface of the silver thaw made thus is called "Prawn's Tail" for its shape. The wind howling through a forest with frozen ice trees blows disorderly to various directions, and "Prawn's Tail" on the surface of a silver thaw changes its shape complicatedly, then forms a peculiar Ice Monster.
Why don't you join us to see the beautiful silver thaw only available in the limited region winter?
Winter in Japan is filled with endless wonders. Why not experience its allure with one of our special tours? Unexpected wonders and incredible moments are just waiting for you!