Does It Snow in Tokyo – Your Manual for Winter in Japan
One of the most delightful seasons in Japan is winter. In addition, while Japan is stunning all year round, some regions provide a winter paradise with an abundance of snow-related activities.
Snow in Japan is a magnificent sight for those who enjoy having it cover their surroundings in fine, fluffy snow. Everything you need to know about the winter in Japan like “ Does it snow in Tokyo?”, from the several popular winter sports to the amount of snowfall per region, is provided here. It’s undoubtedly a wonderful experience!
How is the winter weather in Tokyo?
The average temperature in Tokyo tended to decrease by 2 to 3 degrees from December to January, as seen in the graph of the city’s winter climate trend from 2015 to 2018. These months also seem to be the coldest.
So, be careful to dress appropriately for the cold when touring in Tokyo as the low temperature in January often is less than 2 degrees (C). Don’t forget your gloves and scarves, and dress accordingly with heavy jackets and caps.
Here is the weather forecast for this year, you can refer to it!
Does it snow in Tokyo?
Yes, it does, though often it’s not very heavy. There will probably be a few days during a given winter when snow is falling, but it is uncommon for snow to actually build on the streets and sidewalks.
While Hokkaido and western Japan frequently see substantial snowfall, Tokyo practically never does. A less severe winter is a result of the area’s fast urbanization and location inside the Kanto region.
Most other regions of North and Northeast Japan see heavy or extremely heavy snowfall, although the capital only gets light to moderate amounts, which many people are unaware of.
Tokyo receives just an average of 5 cm (2 inches) of snow every year, even in the bitterly cold months of December and January. Tokyo’s wintertime temperatures range from 2°C to 10°C. A thin covering of snow covers the metropolis thanks to the city’s Heat Island effect and the warmer weather.
Naturally, this does not imply that snow will never fall in Tokyo. Most of the snowfall in the city itself occurs in January and February when the temperature drops by an additional 2°C. Tokyo has had up to 27 days of snowfall (in 2014), yet there have also been years like 2009 and 2017 where there has been none.
Tokyo experiences temperatures between 0°C and 2°C with no humidity during these times. From the Imperial Palace East Garden to Hama Rikyu, several parks transform into winter wonderlands.
When does Tokyo get snow?
Tokyo regularly has snowfall from December to March.
1. Snowfall in December
Tokyo’s winter season officially begins when it snows in December. Lows in Tokyo are just 42.6 degrees Fahrenheit (5.9 degrees Celsius), while highs are only 52.2 degrees Fahrenheit (11.2 degrees Celsius). The majority of precipitation in December is rain, which may measure up to 0.83 inches (21 millimeters), with very little snowfall.
With lows of 37 degrees Fahrenheit (2.8 degrees Celsius) and highs of 48 degrees Fahrenheit (8.9 degrees Celsius), January is the coldest month in Tokyo. Snowfall is common at this time. In Tokyo, the first snowflakes appear in January. Tokyo has snowfall on 1.3 days per month, and it may reach a depth of 0.2 inches (5 millimeters)
2. Snowfall in January
In Tokyo, February is the last month of winter. Lows of 38.3 degrees Fahrenheit (3.5 degrees Celsius) and highs of 49.6 degrees Fahrenheit (9.8 degrees Celsius) are the typical temperatures in the city’s metropolitan region.
3. Snowfall in February
With a total accumulation of 0.83 inches (21 millimeters) of snow, February is the snowiest month in Tokyo. Throughout the whole month, there is also a frequent occurrence of rain, which lasts for an average of 9.6 days and accumulates to a depth of 0.87 inches (22 millimeters).
Does Snow Affect Tokyo Problems?
The graphic shows that since 1946, there have only been four occasions where more than 10 inches of snow have been measured. Moreover, since the Japan Meteorological Agency began compiling its records, there have only been 11 instances of snowfall totaling more than 6 inches. How then do these “Snowmageddons” unfold? These illustrations come from January 2018.
1. Delayed and canceled air travel
Over 250 foreign flights (at Haneda and Narita combined) were canceled by the substantial snowfall in January 2018, and the weather also caused widespread delays across the nation and area.
2. Affects train, subway, and metro services
There were sporadic delays and cancellations on all of the main railway and metro lines. This put additional pressure on the remainder of the system, which in turn caused delays.
3. Accidental Falls and Slips
There have been over 70 major slip-and-fall accidents in Tokyo, according to the fire department there. Ages of the victims varied from 19 to 90. Be cautious if you’re in Tokyo during a significant snowstorm. We advise you to take it easy and locate the closest izakaya. However, use caution when consuming sake. You probably won’t be able to keep upright with this!
4. Tokyo’s congestion is bad
Snow is a common occurrence where we come, and during the winter everyone puts on snow tires. In Tokyo? Not really! Winter tires are not as popular as they should be in a city that receives so little snow, of course. What transpires, then, when there is a significant snowstorm and the snow really sticks?
The use of cars without chains or without snow tires is prohibited on several roads and bridges. About 50 vehicles were immobile and trapped on Tokyo’s waterfront “Rainbow Bridge” in January 2018. Additionally, several automobile accidents were reported all across the city.
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How to Visit Tokyo During the Winter: What to Bring and What to Know
1. What should you wear in Tokyo during the winter?
The right attire is essential to fend off the brisk winter winds and low temperatures! But because Tokyo is a big city and heated buildings are almost as common as open air walks, it’s important to dress in a way that strikes a balance between being warm enough and being too hot.
The easiest approach to deal with these extreme temperature fluctuations is to dress in layers, so pack gloves, a scarf, and a knit cap to protect you from the cold. Also, make sure that everything is easy to put on and take off.
- Head: Wear a knit cap, ear warmers, and a muffler to keep your head warm because the wind is both chilly and dry. By the way, thanks to the moisture in your breath, face masks not only protect you from infections but also assist to keep your skin and lips hydrated.
- Upper Body: It is strongly advised to layer a warm, lightweight sweater over a lined, windproof coat. Down jackets and wool coats are the ideal choices for travelers visiting Tokyo in late December, but large, heavy coats will rapidly prove to be quite difficult to put on and take off, as well as to carry around inside. Don’t forget the gloves, either!
- Lower Body: Windproof clothing is usually preferable, so toasties, lined leggings, or thick wool tights and slacks are sensible choices. If you’re a fan of jeans, consider putting on a pair of thin tights underneath to provide an additional layer of protection.
- Socks & Shoes: Here, comfort and heat retention are both important. Don’t only rely on your socks; wear lined shoes or boots as well. You’ll be on your feet all day, so avoid wearing anything that makes you uncomfortable.
2. What items should you bring?
- Thermos flask: Bring a thermos flask loaded with tea or another hot beverage with you at all times for the tastiest way to stay warm!
- Lip balm and hand lotion: Unfortunately, chapped lips and rough skin are fairly typical in the winter due to the dry air. Make sure to include hand lotion and lip balm in your purse to apply at the first hint of pain to treat this right away.
- Kairo: Hand warmers, or “kairo” as they are known in Japanese, are a must on chilly days. They come in a range of sizes and forms and may be purchased at any drug or convenience shop. They are available as the traditional portable devices and may even be sewn into your socks, shirt, or bottoms.
The Best Things To Do In Japan During Winter
The winters in Japan are among the most beautiful in the world, so keep that in mind if you’re thinking of relocating there or working there. Winter in Japan is a significant occasion, with celebrations taking place virtually every day.
From November through February, the mornings are typically fine but the evenings can get cold. Nighttime will seem to arrive 2-3 hours earlier than it actually does. Nevertheless, practically every Japanese city will have its unique winter events.
If you’re staying at an onsen, you may enjoy its warmth while the nearby mountains and valleys are covered in snow. There are a variety of outdoor activities you may engage in. You can go skiing, dog sledding, and snowmobiling. A ropeway ride may be enjoyed all day. On a frozen lake, you can even ice skate.
When it snows in Japan, the most frequent activities are:
- Skiing snowboarding
- Snowy onsen
- Holiday celebrations (matsuri)
- Visits to shrines in the new year
- Tour the snowscape
- Christmas illumination displays and parks
- Winter wonder events
The most popular ones include onsen trips, skiing, and snowboarding. As long as there is snow, they will be accessible in practically every prefecture you visit. In North Japan, the ski and snowboarding season lasts from December until as late as April.
Every city hosts several winter celebrations, as we already said. Each prefecture hosts its own Kamakura festival as well as other celebrations. The largest celebrations held in Japan throughout the winter are the Otaru Snow Light Path, Asahikawa Winter Festival, and Sapporo Snow Festival
What Ski Resorts Are Near Tokyo?
Here are 3 ski areas you might like to visit that are near Tokyo. I’ll just provide you with a link to their home pages because the prices vary.
1. Ski Resort at Manza Onsen
In the remote Agatsuma District of Gunma Prefecture, there is a true onsen called Manza Onsen. Why not combine skiing or snowboarding with a genuine onsen experience to accomplish two goals at once? From the hot spring base, which is located at an elevation of 5 900 feet (1 800 meters), you may enjoy a variety of routes here.
Season: Mid-December until early April
How to get there:
- Fastest way: There is by Shinkansen to Takasaki and local train to Manza-Kazawaguchi Station from Takasaki. One adult ticket on the Shinkansen costs roughly 7500 yen ∼ 53,63 USD, and the trip takes 50 minutes. A local train costs about 1500 yen ∼ 10,73 USD and travels in under two hours from Takasaki to Manza-Kazawaguchi Station.
- Cheaper way: A more affordable option is to take the Shonan-Shinjuku Line to Takasaki, which takes little over two hours and costs 1940 yen ∼ 13,87 USD; from Takasaki, you can take the train to Manza-Kazawaguchi Station for less than 1500 yen ∼ 10,73 USD.
Where can we stay?
Your budget will determine this. We would recommend the Manza Kogen Hotel if your main priority is skiing or snowboarding and you only need a secure, comfortable, and reasonably priced somewhere to stay. Manza Prince is a fantastic option if you want a little higher level and to be near to the slopes.
2. Ski Resort Gala Yuzawa
This is one of the easiest ski resorts to reach from Tokyo. It is quite well-liked and ideal for day getaways.
Season: Mid-November to the end of May.
How to get there?
- Quickest method: Swoosh! You can travel from Tokyo Station to Yuzawa on the Shinkansen in only one and a half hours. (Roughly 6000 yen ∼ 42,9 USD)
- JR Tokyo Wide Pass: Possibly a faster way that is also less expensive. Shinkansen unlimited travel for three days is available for 10000 yen ∼ 71,51 USD. The best and least expensive option is to take the around 12000 yen ∼ 85,81 USD round trip from Tokyo to Yuzawa if you plan to return within three days (Gala Yuzawa is ideal for a day excursion). To get the most of your JR Tokyo Wide Pass, be sure to plan ahead.
Where can we stay?
Once more, everything depends on your budget! In Yuzawa, there are a ton of possibilities. Everything from extremely affordable shared lodgings like dorm beds to upscale hotels like Hotel Kiyotsukan. Note the distance between the hotel and the ski area.
3. Fujiten Snow Resort
What does it sound like to you? Skiing beneath the breathtaking Mount Fuji and getting a close-up view of one of Japan’s most recognizable sights?
Season: Early December until early April
How to get there?
- The quickest route is the Fujikyuko Line to Kawaguchiko Station, followed by the Chuo Line-Limited Express from Shinjuku Station to Otsuki Station. You must pay 4700 yen ∼ 33,61 USD and two hours. You must take a cab (20 minutes) from there to Fujiten Snow Resort.
- Cheaper way: The Keio Line runs from Shinjuku Station to Takao Station and is a more affordable option. From there, you must take the Chuo Line to Kawaguchiko Station (a 10-minute walk from your starting point!). The price is 2100 yen ∼ 15,02 USD for 2 hours and 50 minutes.
Where can we stay?
The hotels are not particularly near to Mount Fuji itself due to how far the mountain stretches out in all directions. The ones nearest to you are 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) distant. If you want to have champagne for breakfast with the ideal view of Mount Fuji, check out Forest Village. There are other less expensive solutions if it is a bit out of your financial range.
Tokyo Snowfall Compared to Nagoya and Osaka
Tokyo experiences fewer snow days annually than Osaka and Nagoya, but the amount of snowfall there is often more. Although Osaka has more snow days than Tokyo does, the amount of snowfall there rarely exceeds 5 cm.
Tokyo receives a disproportionately big quantity of snowfall when compared to other major Japanese cities.
Pros of snowfall in Tokyo:
- Fantastic winter landscapes may be viewed in place of the often chilly, robotic, high-rise-lined streets of Tokyo City.
- At well-known tourist destinations like the Tokyo Tower, Skytree, and Senso-ji in Asakusa, you may get a new sort of sightseeing experience.
Cons of snowfall in Tokyo
- Train delays and cancellations
- Traffic jams
- Highway closures
- flight cancellations
- slippery sidewalks
- A higher risk of injury when walking
1. When does snowfall in Tokyo?
Prior to Christmas, around the middle to the end of December, Japan normally experiences its first snowfall, which lasts until the end of March or the beginning of April. The actual snow conditions will determine how this varies from resort to resort. Mid-January to late February is when the season reaches its height. Some ski areas start their seasons in late October.
2. Is Tokyo chilly during the winter?
In Japan, winter is a stunning time of year, but you need to stay warm. The average temperature is around 50 °F (10 °C), but fortunately there are only a few wet days per month.
3. When does it snow in Tokyo?
Tokyo typically has just one or two days of light snowfall every year, and if any snow does fall at all, it seldom accumulates and rarely stays on the ground for more than a few days. Nevertheless, the city is conveniently adjacent to a number of notable snow spots in Japan, many of which can be reached in a single day.
4. Is Japan’s snowiest city?
One of the snowiest places on earth is this Japanese village.
One of the snowiest places in both Japan and the whole world is this mountainous hamlet. Shirakawa-go, which translates as “white river village,” may get close to 400 inches (about 33 feet) of snow yearly.
5. Tokyo or Beijing, which is colder?
In the winter, Beijing can get exceedingly chilly. Beijing typically has substantially lower temperatures in January than Tokyo. Tokyo averages a temperature of 5°C (42°F), whereas Beijing is typically about -4°C (26°F).
6. Is Tokyo cold at Christmas?
December’s temperature in Tokyo: 5.8°C (42°F) on average for lows and 13.4°C (56°F) for highs. The month of December signals the end of autumn and the start of a full winter. While it is not the coldest month, temperatures do drop dramatically, and snowfall is not unusual.
7. Which Japanese city is the coldest?
The town of Rikubetsu () is situated in eastern Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan, in the Tokachi region. The village of Rikubetsu is renowned for having the coldest winters in all of Japan, with lows as low as -33°C (approximately -28°F) during the worst months of winter.
8. In Tokyo, what should I wear?
It’s crucial to maintain cultural norms and practices by dressing modestly. Avoid wearing items like shorts, tank tops, and miniskirts. Even if you don’t intend to visit temples or shrines, it’s still a good idea to dress more conservatively. Women are often discouraged from exposing their cleavage.
9. Is Tokyo colder than Osaka?
Tokyo often has warmer temperatures than Osaka. Tokyo has a temperature of 17.28°C (63.1°F), which is 0.5°C (32.9°F) warmer than Osaka’s normal mean temperature of 16.78°C (62.2°F).
10. Is winter in Japan harsh?
Japanese winters are often chilly and severe, in contrast to the hot and muggy summers. The insulation of traditional Japanese homes isn’t always ideal during a windy season. To combat the cold and endure the rigors of these few months, fortunately, a wide variety of accessories are available.
“Does it snow in Tokyo?” is a common question. The right response is always affirmative. The story doesn’t end there, either, since Japan boasts some of the most picturesque winters in the whole globe. It’s not just a blanket of fresh snow, but also a fresh opportunity to take in a beautiful culture.
There are many activities available whether you are a visitor or a resident of Japan during the winter. There are many enjoyable activities to do, such as skiing, ice skating, strolling through snowy parks, and attending shows.
Nevertheless, it’s a fantastic time to travel, and if you work in Japan, you’ll certainly notice that the atmosphere is more laid-back. Visit Japan to see the breathtaking splendor of the country’s winter. There’s a whole new world waiting for you.