When Does It Snow in Japan? A Guide to Winter Weather and Snowfall Patterns

If you’re planning a trip to Japan, one of the things you may be wondering about is when it snows in Japan. Japan is known for its picturesque winter landscapes, and the snowy season can be a great time to explore the country. In this post, we’ll take a look at when it snows in Japan, the patterns of snowfall across the country, and where you can find the best winter experiences.

When Does It Snow in Japan?

Winter in Japan typically runs from December to February, with January being the coldest month. The snow season can vary depending on the region, with the heaviest snowfall typically occurring in northern Japan. The northern island of Hokkaido is known for its snowy conditions, with snow falling from November to May. The Tohoku region of northern Honshu also experiences heavy snowfall during the winter months.

In the central and southern regions of Japan, snowfall is less common, but still occurs in some areas. Tokyo receives snow a few times each winter, but it doesn’t usually accumulate on the ground for long. The Kanto region, which includes Tokyo, experiences a milder winter climate than the northern regions.

When Does It Snow in Japan
Snow in Tokyo, Japan | Credit: Wikipedia Commons


December marks the beginning of winter in Japan and is the perfect time to experience the magic of snow. The snow season in Japan officially starts in December, and you can expect to see snow in most parts of the country. The ski resorts in Japan usually open in December, making it the perfect month for winter sports enthusiasts.


January is one of the coldest months in Japan, but it also offers some of the best snow conditions. This month is the peak season for winter sports, and you can enjoy activities like skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. The Japanese Alps are especially beautiful during this month, and the Snow Festival in Sapporo is a must-see event for snow lovers.


February is the last month of Japan’s winter season, and you can expect to see a lot of snow during this time. The ski resorts are still open, and the snow conditions are excellent for winter sports. February is also a great time to visit hot springs and enjoy the snow views from the comfort of a relaxing outdoor bath.

What to Expect During the Winter Months in Japan

The winter months in Japan can be bitterly cold, with temperatures in northern Japan sometimes dropping to below zero. However, it’s also a time of natural beauty and fun winter activities. Winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding are popular pastimes, and there are many world-class ski resorts throughout the country.

Visitors to Japan during the winter months can enjoy winter festivals and events, such as the Sapporo Snow Festival, which features massive snow sculptures and attracts millions of visitors every year. Many onsen (hot springs) throughout Japan are open year-round, but there’s nothing quite like soaking in a hot spring while surrounded by snow-covered mountains.

What to Pack for a Winter Trip to Japan

If you’re planning a winter trip to Japan, you’ll want to pack accordingly. Warm, waterproof clothing is essential, as temperatures can drop below freezing in many areas. Be sure to bring a heavy coat, gloves, a hat, and a scarf to stay warm. Waterproof boots with good traction are also important for walking on snow and ice.

Heavy snowfall area in Hyogo, Japan | Credit: Wikipedia Commons

Where to Go for the Ultimate Winter Experience in Japan

Hokkaido is one of the best places to experience Japan’s winter wonderland, with world-renowned ski resorts and stunning winter landscapes. The snow festival in Sapporo is a must-see event for any winter traveler, but Hokkaido also offers snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and other winter sports.

The Tohoku region in northern Honshu is another great option for winter travel, with some of the heaviest snowfall in Japan. The Zao Onsen ski resort in Yamagata prefecture is famous for its “snow monsters,” trees that become encased in ice and snow during the winter months, creating a surreal and beautiful landscape.

In central Japan, the town of Takayama in Gifu prefecture is known for its picturesque winter scenes, with snow-covered traditional houses and streets. And for those who want to experience a hot spring surrounded by snow, the town of Kusatsu in Gunma prefecture is a popular destination.


If you’re wondering when it snows in Japan, the answer is usually from December to February, with the heaviest snowfall in the northern regions. However, Japan’s winter season offers much more than just snow, with unique winter festivals and activities, picturesque winter landscapes, and hot springs surrounded by snow-covered mountains. With the right preparation and planning, a winter trip to Japan can be an unforgettable experience.

Be sure to research the regions you plan to visit and pack appropriately for the weather conditions. And don’t forget to check the forecast before your trip to ensure you don’t miss out on any of the winter wonderland experiences Japan has to offer.

In conclusion, if you’re looking to experience the beauty of winter in Japan, plan your trip between December and February and head to the northern regions for the best chance of seeing snow. With winter festivals, snow sports, and hot springs, Japan offers a unique and unforgettable winter experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *